Yesterday morning, my last morning at home before leaving town, I paused in the hall and silently watched Rooster eating breakfast at the dining room table. “Look what I can do!” he said to me, smiling.
Her legs seemed to stretch further down towards the floor than ever before. She sat straight and tall eating scrambled eggs and buttered toast.
She was, in that moment, herself in the present, her former baby self and a shadowy suggestion of the woman she will become.
I tried to memorize the way her legs poked out of her pink pajama bottom shorts trying to freeze a moment in time, to hold this girl still, this shape shifter of mine, who changes so drastically, it seems, every day.
Like his sister, The Mayor is in a constant state of transition. With every new day, he becomes someone more complex and capable than the day before. I never have time to know the boy he is on Tuesday, because on Wednesday he is more.
Both of them live in a state of eternal becoming.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, with the support of a floating ring, The Mayor jumped off the diving board.
After countless practice jumps from the pool’s edge in water he could stand in, he steeled himself against his fear, and jumped from the board into the deep end.
Later that afternoon, when K and I weren’t paying the strictest attention, The Mayor decided to jump without the float.
Someone must have yelled or called out. There must have been some sound that alerted us but I don’t remember it.
I only know that in a single instant everyone at the pool turned to focus on The Mayor's small splashing hands, the only parts of his body that were visible above the water.
The Rooster was wrapped in a towel on my lap, but my body was in motion before my mind understood exactly what I was seeing or what it might mean.
I was up out of my seat with the Rooster halfway down, when I saw K’s body flying across the water.
I mean it, I saw my husband fly.
Though the whole episode couldn’t have lasted more than ten seconds, time warped and shifted as if we had watched the scene through a fun house mirror.
K sat at the pool’s edge with The Mayor in his lap. Five feet away, I could hear my husband’s heart hammering in his chest keeping time with my own.
The Mayor wasn’t at all frightened.
Our instinct was to remain calm, not to frighten our son with our own fear.
K calmly explained drowning to The Mayor who accepted it as a matter of fact and went back to using the ring to jump in the pool.
Last night, The Mayor, Rooster and I went for a swim while K shopped for groceries to get them through the five motherless days to come.
I watched The Mayor as two boys coaxed him out beyond the roped off toddler area.
The Mayor followed the boys, but when they tried to tempt him to venture out to water that he knew was too deep, he turned without saying a word and returned.
Then he spread his body out across the water and floated on his back.
To the best of my knowledge, he’d never done that before.
His arms were stretched out on either side of him and his toes stuck up out of the water as his body bobbed and spun on the water’s surface.
He relaxed into the feeling of floating and let the water carry and support him.
I watched him and his suddenly dog paddling sister and marveled at the way that everyday is an adventure of self-discovery for them.
I bear witness dumbstruck with awe.
“Look what I can do!” he said to me, smiling.