Several weeks ago, the boys spent a Saturday morning pretending that the bed in Matthew’s room was a rocket ship. Â They built up sides for the rocket ship with pillows (using every single one in the house) and brought in toy food for the journey and had a general blast pretending to blast off. Â Matthew even penned a note for the door of his room:
Translation:Â Please ask a staff if you can come in the rocket ship.Â All staff will say yes.
I loved seeing their imagination, their sense of adventure, and their teamwork (a nice change from the cries of, â€œMom! Â He won’t let me play with his train!” that we normally hear around here.) Â Even when the Â morning of space travel was over, the sign stayed on Â Matthew’s door for weeks. Â Every time I saw it, I smiled inside.
Then last night, as I was standing over the trashcan in Matthew’s room snipping the annoying little plastic brackets holding together a fat pair of new socks, I saw the rocket ship sign. Â It was tossed in, haphazardly. Â Was there some mistake?
“Matthew,” I asked, â€œis this your rocket ship sign in the trash in your room?”
â€œOh, yeah,” he said airily.Â â€œI threw it away. Â I don’t need it anymore.”
He’s right, I guess; the rocket ship voyage was so six weeks ago. Â He’s on to other things. Â But part of me hurt to see it tossed away.
I fished it out and carefully removed the blue tape that had held it to his door. Â It will go in my file, my Mom-file of things that the boys have made. I’m not sure Matthew would understand my desire to save this piece of paper. Â He can’t see the preciousness of his own creation. But I can.
Sometimes I want this rocket ship of parenting to speed up, to blast me beyond the reality of my current life. Â But mostly, I sense how fast it’s traveling, and that makes me feel something like pain. Â Slow down, I want to say to the rocket ship. Â It’s all a blur out there. Â I want to savor it. Â But it can’t go backward, Â only forward.
That’s why I’m keeping this hand-written sign from an ordinary Saturday morning. Â It’s a frozen moment of the journey, a tangible memory of a life that may seem to drag in places but really does move at the speed of light.