Our Baby Then:
“Mama, did you see me waving to your feet?!”— Nick, 5, to me in the pool this weekend after emerging from the water sporting his new goggles.
And then, after I joined him underwater with my goggles so we could “talk,” upon popping to the surface: “Mommy, you look funny under there! You look like Harry Potter!”
It’s hard to believe, but our youngest of five is now five. For his birthday, we took an early summer vacation at a hotel here in town. Having been assigned a room on the fifth floor, he delighted in pushing the 5 on the elevator button panel. Our little fish then spent half a night and several hours the next morning doing his favorite thing: swimming and exploring the vast "ocean" with his super-cool underwater exploration goggles.
Five is a big age. The morning of my fifth birthday, I stood on a stool in the bathroom in front of the mirror, where I waited…and waited…and waited to see myself growing a year older.
When you’re five, the world is full of delightful possibility. You question everything and nothing all at the same time.
I appreciate these realities so much more now than the first or second or even third go-around. As a 41-year-old mother who has nudged four others from the hearth and into the beginnings of the real world, I understand well what’s coming. Soon, the zeal for life will lose some of its shine. The freshness that comes with turning five will fade with each passing year. If he’s lucky, it will return many years from now, when wisdom trumps knowledge and the world becomes, once again, a place in which to witness everyday miracles.
For now, I’m taking notes. I’m re-learning what’s important: the pure beauty of the first spring flower, letters on a page, numbers on fingers and a warm place to go at the end of the day. I’m re-visiting the chance to laugh at things that normally might whiz past me, to blow bubbles in my milk, to make funny faces just because I feel like it.
I’m re-discovering how to play the air guitar, suck the ice-cream out of the bottom of my cone, and look at the world from a new viewpoint.
I’m finding all over again that you can be someone’s friend even if you don’t know their name, that soup is better when slurped, and things don’t always have to match to be useful.
When you’re five, the world is big but everything is possible.
When was the last time you did something goofy, just cuz?