When I look at your face sleeping, I see how much you have grown. You are still little enough to carry but not for too much longer. I need your help now, “Hold on tight, kiddo, you are getting so big.” I know I only have a short time with you, in these precious childhood years. They go by fast and very soon you will be a man.
Mr. Dylan, they will call you, forgetting about the summer of 2014 when you were known as Dill Pickle and never wore a shirt. Lately, you have been talking about who you will be when you are a grown up; the things you will do. As much as I encourage you to dream, I want to tell you to just slow down and enjoy it. The time is now kid, these are the best years of your life. Do not worry about when you are old: with the bills, the job, the responsibilities, that will come.
What will not come again is the sense of freedom that endless play and a long summer gives. The feeling of laughing at your cousins with dirty faces, sticky popsicle hands and skinned parkour knees. Taking late night drives with your mom to see the super moon, holding her hand the whole way because you still think it is cool. This is the time to cherish. Maybe this is too philosophical for a five year old. Perhaps, the insight is not for you, but for me.
As parents across our province scramble to find care for their kids, I am blessed to have this extra time with you. I do not have to work and I took a semester off of school to be home. For this special time, I am truly grateful. I have been reminded how much of an honour and privilege it is to be an educator. Although we are not in our regular routine, we are adapting. Learning and teaching each other. No schools. Just us. Mom and kid.
So, tonight I hold your hand while it still fits in mine. I tell myself not to worry about the degree, the career, the laundry, the teachers strike and when you will go back to school because that will all come. What will not is cotton candy kisses and little arms around my neck. Stick figure drawings of us and hearing your infectious laugh lingering through this extended summer break.
The dishes can wait. I can fold the clothes later. No lunches to pack. We can sleep in tomorrow. Right now, I just want to watch you sleep while you are still small. Night little guy, sweet dreams.