free falling

18 months and Climbing

I was sitting in the chair with my phone while Eddie watched Curious George before bed.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Charlie sneaking behind the coffee table on my left. Of course I don’t think anything of it…other than perhaps in about two minutes I would be changing a dirty diaper…and I keep concentrating on Words With Friends (I mean, what do you do with 3 A’s, 2 I’s, a T and a J?).

Suddenly, there was a curly-haired stage diver dead-weight free-falling onto my lap.

Charlie had climbed up next to me on the table, stood up, and let himself “trust fall” (face forward) at me faster than I could say, “Hey, we don’t climb on tables.”  In fact, I think I only got out the, “hey we d–” part before he was plummeting toward my lap.

“BIRD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I gasped, sure that he was milliseconds away from crying since I was pretty sure his head hit the chair arm and his gut landed squarely on my elbow.

He rolled off me onto the floor in a fit of giggles.

His too-long hair (“He looks like a dirty hippy,” Cort is always saying), was flopped into his eyes and his right foot was not in the footsie part of his jammies. He was sprawled out on his back at my feet, and he was laughing his crazy little head off.

I just stared at him.  O_O

“Eddie. Did you just see that?”

“Yup. Bird is crazy, mom.”

“Cort, did YOU see that?”

“I caught the tail end of it,” he said shaking his head.

“Charles Thomas,” I sternly said as I stood him up to look at me, “we do NOT climb on the furniture like that! It’s dangerous! You could’ve gotten seriously hurt!”

He furrowed his brow and pouted his lips and shook his little finger at me.

“NO NO NO!”

I shook my head. “That’s right. No, no.”

“NOOOO. No. NO!” He said sternly to me.  And with that he bent down, collected his Pipey and his Puppy, and rubbed his eye with the back of his chubby little fist.

Then he turned and flung his face to my lap and made some tired sounds, “mmmm ma ma ma mmmm”.

I scooped him up into my lap where he pressed his face into mine and shook his head.  That is his way of cuddling. Of showing you he wants to hunker down and be your cuddle buddy for a while.

He is my fearless child.

He will climb anything, heights be damned.

He may fall a time or two, but he doesn’t dwell on it by crying, and he the fall doesn’t keep him from doing it again.

He trusts completely that we will catch him, and if we don’t, no big deal.

But if we do, he smiles with his whole face…his whole body even.

And his laugh fills the room.

18 months

it all happened at once

It was unexpected.

We went to our small town’s annual Memorial Day Parade with Eddie.

Eddie loves parades.

It’s not that we weren’t thinking about the meaning of the parade, but when you have a toddler you are mostly thinking of how he will like the drums.

And of course we were watching for Great Grand-dad in the group of WWII vets.

the strapping young man on the left is my paternal grandpa

and just after we waved to Great Grand Dad, it happened.

I wasn’t prepared.

A car of WWII vets drove by.

Eddie waved.

One kind vet saluted my son.

My small, blue-eyed, blond curly headed boy watched intently as the kind-faced vet rolled away in his car.

The crowd continued to stand and clap.

More vets rolled by.

And my thoughts followed my little boy up through school and beyond high school.

It never occurred to me until that moment that my son might choose the military.

Neither Cort’s dad nor mine did.

But Cort’s stepdad, both my grandpas, Cort’s maternal grandpa, and his uncle did.

College was the assumed path for my husband, me, and our siblings.

But what if Eddie chooses to give himself to his country and serve?

My heart started beating with the pride of that possibility.  Of  my son in uniform.

Just then the Gold Star Mothers rode past.

And my heart fell out of my chest.

I realized whatever Eddie chooses, my heart will explode with pride and break with worry.

all at once.

*************

Sluiter Nation would like to thank all the men and women who have chosen to serve the United States of America.

You are so brave.

We honor you.

Happy Memorial Day.

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