Today was the last day of preschool. The two year olds are now three. We celebrated with pizza and fruit .. and imaginary ice cream.
At every chance he gets, my son becomes the ice cream man.
Filling pails with playground sticks and sand, he offers me chocolate and strawberry with chocolate sauce, no nuts. He assures me each time, "it's delicious." I am really good at making believe it is.
While us sentimental moms stood around, filled with pride at the lack of diapers amongst our crew and overcome by our kids' ability to now reach once unreachable countertops, the children lived in their own moments. Their chins dripping with watermelon juice, they debated who's turn it was to vroom the toy train. They wondered if someone could read them their favorite book. They burst open the doors to the playground anxious to be first on the teeter-totter. They served imaginary ice cream.
When you are newly three, there is no reminiscing and there is no future expectation. There is simply now. He won't remember this chapter of his life. The memory of this year is mine. And while I feel my heart swell with end of school nostalgia, my son milks pretend cows and lives within his grandiose plans to be a farmer who makes ice cream.
I forgot my camera today and was beating myself up about it - "NO pictures of the last day of his first year of preschool?! What kind of a Mother am I?! And I forgot to shave my legs!" My thoughts were interrupted - "Mommy, the cows have no more milk. We are out of ice cream. Here is a cup of chocolate sauce." There he is again - living in the moment. "Now really," I had to admit to myself, "what good would my camera do me? In 10 years, I'd skim over the photo of the cracked pink cup filled with sticks, never recalling that it was this decadent chocolate sauce treat that I should win an Oscar for enjoying so much."
Motherhood and the Passage of Time are at odds with one and other. The quest to relish the moment, perhaps prevents us from living it. The fear that this moment too shall pass, interrupts us from enjoying it. Comparing his waddle from the start of the year to his current manly strut, wastes this occasion to savor chocolate syrup.
I'm glad I forgot my camera. And I'm glad the cows ran out of milk. I took a break from my own schmaltzy wistfulness and relished every chocolate drop of the last day of my second son's first year of preschool.
And now, I've written it down, so in those failing flashes when I am far from living in the moment, too sad that there are no more babies living in my house, I can read this and remember the ice cream man.