My audacious two year old has already set his sights on a career as an astronaut. He has embarked on a rigorous training course – wearing astronaut pajamas, having us read to him every book he can find about outer space, and jumping on our bed while yelling “I'm on planet moon!” He tells me when he goes to school he will learn how to be an astronaut. We tell him astronauts have to finish their broccoli.
It is embarrassing to admit, but every time he says that he wants to fly to the moon, I feel a pang of sadness. Perhaps I've seen one too many Doctor Who episodes, but a world where he is able to fly so far away doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility. A world where he is anything but little and here with me, however, is more difficult to imagine.
And then he says, “Astronauts can bring their mommies to the moon.”
I know there will come a day when he doesn't want to bring his mommy to the moon. He won't want to bring me anywhere, preferring the company of his peers when he goes on adventures. There may also be a day when he has to take me everywhere, driving me to church and to doctors’ appointments. It is the progression of life, a journey that obeys only one law of time – it will speed up and slow down at all the wrong moments.
He jumps around the house telling me there is not too much gravity here. Every playground structure is transformed into a rocket ship. He asks if astronauts really have to eat their broccoli, or if candy will make him big and strong too. Eventually he will take off, and I will watch from a distance. It is good and necessary. It is tomorrow and it is light years away.
But right now he wants to take his mommy with him to the moon. Daddy and his brother can come along, too, he tells me as I tuck him into bed. He asks for a story. I tell him stories about astronauts flying to far off planets and having grand adventures bouncing around on the moon. In my stories, the astronaut always comes home. For this moment, his anchor is here with us. And wherever his dreams take him, I hope it will remain.