103 Freckles

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You have gone to nearly a million different places with me over the years, car seat baby, best errand running boy. You walk around the most boring places or actually I carry you most of the time. You’ve gotten pretty heavy, you’re off the growth charts in your almost 4-year-old body. You don’t know this. You ask me a hundred questions a day. Maybe more. Typically, the only one I can answer with confidence is, “will you hold me?” Yes. Until you get too heavy and my back starts to hurt, then I will set you down. In about a minute or so, you will ask, “Mama, will you hold me?” I will pick you back up. Again. And again. Your persistence and sweet voice win every time.

Your big brothers have gone to preschool, elementary school and now they’re going to morning summer camps. You say happily, “Mom, what are we going to do today when June-Asher (Julian and Asher) are at school?” We may go to Target, visit Grandma Fritz, go to the grocery store or we may do something really boring, like go to Firestone. You really never fuss. You find the fun in every place. You’ve always been the most laid-back, easy-going boy. My running errand companion. Sometimes, you’re decked out in a mismatched super hero costume. Other days, like today, you’re wearing two different hand-me down shoes. You say, “I wike a wot of co-wors.” Sometimes you’re wearing a half-pajamas, half normal clothes outfit. And on rare occasions, you have snuck some of your big brothers’ clothes on, since they will be away for a few hours.

We dropped the van off at Firestone to get the tires checked. Nope, we didn’t have an appointment. Somewhat stranded but I knew that air-conditioned waiting room would get boring pretty fast. We walked to Walgreens to get some essentials like bread, poster board, and sunblock. I let you get a cheap bath toy. I knew we needed just one more thing, but I forgot what it was while trying to hold you and the poster board and bread. I didn’t want to squash that bread. You needed to ride on my hip. Slipping down with every step. Like always. “Mama, I’m falling.” Then, I try my best to boost you back up, somewhat forgetting that you can walk.

My phone didn’t ring. The van wasn’t ready so we hung out under a tree. Just you and me. You needed to sit on my lap to play with your new three dollar toy. Then, you asked to “westle.” Wrestle. You love wrestling. You pointed out that the milk truck drove by. I should have remembered that we forgot the milk, but I didn’t. Not until later. You let me count the freckles on your face. All 103 of them. The sweetest freckles. I may have counted a couple of dirt specks too. I love the varying sizes and colors of your freckles. Some brand-summer-sun new, and some there since the spring sunny days. They are perfectly scattered on your cheeks, your nose and your forehead. And a couple on your chin. There’s also the one a little to the left and below your right eye. They may just be one of my favorite summertime traditions. Along with your extraordinarily long bleached tip eyelashes. That I want.

I have a hard time telling you “no”when you’ve been so patient with me and these boring errands. So, I wrestled with you on the grass under that tree. I’m sure it was quite the strange sight, if any of the cars driving by noticed. Just a rare human-being mom and her toddler son playing under a tree on a ninety degree summer day. In the front of a Walgreens parking lot. Laughing and wrestling playfully. Similar to orangutans. Waiting on some tires to get checked out. We eventually walked back to Firestone. Completely covered in grass residue. You told me to just “scwatch”my uber itchy skin. Those “r’s” and “l’s” give you a tough time, but “I wike” the way you say them…”a wot.”

We got in the van and you buckled yourself in. Then, you got to talking. You absolutely love talking while we drive around. You love the Red Bull car. And every motorcycle. And big truck. Your other favorite time to talk up a storm is at nighttime when you’re supposed to be closing your eyes. You never want to close your eyes. In both times and places, there are no brothers around to interrupt or answer the questions that you only intended for me. Tonight, I had to write down your exact words, prompted by that wrestling match with your mama, me. From behind me in your car seat, you said,

“Dad can westle all of us down….But Dad can’t westle God down….God’s the stwongest….I weally wanna be God for Halloween. What does God wook wike? Can I be God for Halloween?

You stumped me again. I don’t know what God looks like, I say. We talk about how strong he is. Your response is, “Him can hold a house. And you. And Daddy.” Yep. Then, we talk about his greatest power is his love. I think God would be flattered that an almost four-year old chose to be Him for a Halloween costume. And I don’t think Costco carries the God costume. I will leave the costume making up to Oma. It may just be her toughest request yet. If you don’t change your mind a hundred times before Halloween. Or if your big brothers don’t influence your costume decisions. I really love our little talks. About big stuff.

Sometimes I’m rather annoyed with car troubles. Especially when it turns out to be something really expensive. Or nothing, like today. However, this morning, with the contagious carefree attitude of the sweetest, most patient little live-in-the-moment boy, I actually enjoyed waiting on our tires to get checked. Under that tree. Just counting freckles and wrestling an enthusiastic wittle boy.

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