Every now and then I pull out my black notebook to jot down bits and pieces of life with Ralph. I've never been good at keeping up with his baby book-- for some reason it overwhelms me. But I grab my black notebook almost nightly. It's full of lists, and ideas for things, and quickly scrawled recipes, and it's easier for me to jot down a thing or two about my boy there. I've come up with a small collection of things I want to remember-- one-liners and funny moments and sweet memories, but the things I seem to want to write down the most are the messes.
I want to remember the dry stickiness of all my doorknobs, as though someone with a spitty fist had just shoved a handful of graham cracker into his mouth, and then shut the door tight.
I want to remember the moment when he picked up a throw pillow, wiped his nose all the way across it, set it back down, and ran off to play.
I want to remember the way he follows his dad around outside, trampling plants and shoveling dirt where he shouldn't and driving Ryan crazy.
And the way he pulls a chair up to the counter when I'm working in the kitchen, rumpling the rug in front of the sink every.single.time.
And how every day he insists on doing the dishes, guaranteeing a soaked outfit, and maybe a broken dish.
I want to remember the way sand and dirt falls out of the pockets and cuffs of his pants every time I take them off.
I want to remember the mess, because if there's one thing that drives me crazy, it's a dirty house. I cringe at the sight of all the crumbs on the floor, and sigh at the stains on my rug, and want to pull my hair out when I see even more paint chipped off the floor trim by a chubby hand and a toy hammer. Every day I clean it all up, only to watch the messes flutter back down to the floor like fuzzy, sticky pieces of confetti.
And yes, I want to remember the messes because I know they mean a wild, happy, thriving little boy lives here. But I also want to remember them for my sake. Because, every day, even on the hardest days, I love it. It's a weird thing, to spend your day doing things that drive you up the wall, that you also love. And yet, every day I am reminded: this is what I'm good at. This is what I was meant to do.
I know that Ralph is not much different than any other two year old. He's learning his colors and ABCs and how to spit when he brushes his teeth, just like the rest of them. I know that, besides a few quirks, he's nothing special-- except that he's mine. Mine! My little boy, with his dad's sense of humor and his grandpa's bright eyes and a really fantastic head of hair. Dropped into my lap from the heavens above one morning in October, quiet and sleepy and ready to mess up my life. All for the better.
. . .
PS: When it comes to neat freaks living with a bonkers toddler in the house, I think Erin said it best in this sweet interview: "A crazed monkey has snuck into my sterile little lab, and I am learning to like it."
PPS: Ralph's new favorite car shirt was so generously provided by the kind and friendly folks at Winter Water Factory. It's soft and cute, and we both love it. Thanks guys!
at 2:39 PM