moments, and maybes

For four and a half years, Tucker has kept me busy and kept me on my toes and kept me company.  What used to be a small pink bundle has become long legs and strong opinions.  He tells stories and sings songs and shows gratitude.  He spends most days Dickens novel dirty, flashing a smile that his grandma says consumes his entire face.  He has risen to the occasion when things have been scary and confusing and just plain not fun.  Full of innocent wisdom, he points humor at sadness, encourages us to experience life as a lyric rather than a list.

We saw friends in a wagon across the street today and he said, Know what?  Know why they got that wagon for walks?  Because they miss Celia too and they want to remember how she used to like wagon rides.  
I'm not even sure those neighbors know who Celia is, but he seems to believe the whole world misses her.  And maybe he's right.

There are moments I’d like to lift Tucker out of his grief, carry him above any pain, moments I'd like to make a path for him through trouble.  I remember the first time I felt that urge was at his birth, the moment our eyes met and I wished the world for him.  We wouldn't know for eight days whether he'd inherited the same faulty genes that sealed his sister's fate.  I tried to focus solely on his perfection during that time but was distracted by the desire to shove away hardships for his foreseeable future.  Maybe that's a universal maternal instinct.

The thing is, he has a foreseeable future.  He has jokes to tell and issues to navigate and machines to invent.  Part of being alive is feeling sad and afraid, lonely and vulnerable.  Life unspools the way life does if you're lucky enough to be living it - in cycles of lovely and painful and painful again, and I'm glad to be figuring it all out with him.  With both of them.

When I catch him being a little too rough with Tolliver, Tuck excuses flying fists with I'm just giving Tollie a nice massage.  While he was swinging in the hammock this evening he was encouraging Tollie to come closer, I'm your friend, buddy.  Come here, I'm your friend.  Tuck's plan appeared to enable him to kick but was quickly described as a chance to give Tollie high five with my foot.  Despite these examples, Tucker's love for his brother is just as ardent as it is for his sister.
Tonight at bedtime, as I pajama-ed the boys, Tuck was begging to sleep in Tolliver's bed.  He said Mom, thank you for getting us the best Tollie ever.  And it was a moment, you know?  A lovely one that made me appreciate even more his aliveness and my inability to move him through it on any path but his own.  One of those.

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