On paper, "all we did" was play with some blocks and go outside ("siiiide!!!") then inside then outside then inside again, change a couple of diapers, nap together in a recliner, eat, and play with some more blocks. In reality, three hours yesterday were teeming with enormous, vital, highly-important activity and learning and good old-fashioned pleasure at just being alive. For both of us. And the seeming simplicity, upon reflection, boggles my mind. He's jabbering in his own language so much that he almost trips over his own tongue. His spontaneous laughter helps me remember how good that simplicity can feel. I'm learning from this person who hasn't been alive for two whole years.
This is often the way I'm left feeling at the end of "Pie Time," yet something about yesterday was even better than usual. I think it's because I was in the perfect emotional space to just "be in the moment" the entire time. It's well known that my nephew and I have a spectacular bond. I consider it one of the most fortunate realities of my life that this amazing, remarkable, very cool baby digs me apparently as much as I do him. Truly we can spend a half hour just tickling each other, and making each other laugh just by exchanging certain looks, then starting all over again. With him, plain old "hangin' out" is an art form. And because it affects me so, on occasion I just want to try and explain to you how much these hours impact me.
I always, always fail.
Recently someone reminded me of that quote, "a picture is worth a thousand words," and while I've always kind of agreed with the phrase, since Mr. Pie was born I've looked at photos with a new eye. I sometimes see a shot and want to tell everything about what he'd been doing in the moments leading up to the shot and then after I'd snapped the image. There's no way to convey the thousands of words that could be told about a single minute of observing this tiny person's life.
So my English degree fails me today as I sit and try to create, through words, the enormousness of yesterday's play. And it's clear my minor in art failed me too, as I weed through the photos I shot, noticing that not a single one of them shows his gleeful smile. But if you have the patience to sit through the 2 minute clip I recorded on my mobile phone while he played with his blocks, the end result will most certainly add a lift to your day, even week. Especially when you hear - if you're very careful and alert - the tiny little giggling finale that follows the surprise moments when this child stopped playing with his blocks, wrapped both arms around my head and put his drooly mouth on my face and kissed and kissed me spontaneously - still managing to surprise me - and looked into my eyes with candor and glee and purity.
Hours like these, in spite of my inability to fully capture their special remarkableness, carry me for days and days in my memory. And when I'm stressing over the minutia of life that includes concerns with erratic career paths and atypical living arrangements and relationship woes and self-esteem fluctuations, taking time away from all these issues that weigh on my mind does more for me than any hour on a therapist's sofa ever did or could in a million years.
And yesterday reminds me once more of why we will never have an underpopulated world...