Lex. 5.

We’ve made it, both Lex and I, though his fifth year.

Of course we’re bruised, a little scraped up, covered in permanent markers and dirt. We both have a little more grey hair (mine natural; his achieved with a can of white spray paint in an attempt “to look like an old guy.”) There is also a 37% chance one of us is naked right now. Still, we made it.

Lex is interested in no pace or path but his own. This means I’ll continue to be amazed and crazed as I try to direct some of his days. Smart and strong and happily smashing anything that gets in his way (as well as many things that don’t) Lex is already headed full speed into his next year.

It will be a good journey. When clothes are required, he’ll surely be dressed stylishly in a shirt at least two full sizes too small, skinny jeans with holes in the knees, and some muck boots. Unless he’s relaxing after school, in which case you’ll find him chillin’ with a mango jelly sandwich in some camo boxers. If it’s a very special occasion (say, a Tuesday) he’ll probably put on a cape and mask. Maybe a batting helmet and a spiderman floatation device. 

There will be some peril involved in the journey ahead—mostly of it eagerly  sought out and orchestrated by Lex. He moves quickly and is excited by all those interesting but less traveled paths. There will be more moments of panic where I feel like I’ve lost him. And then I’ll hear his little voice from the opposite tip-top corner of a 50-foot-wide corn maze, from the top of a house-high boulder beside the trail, or from the comfortable seat he’s made himself in a pile of hay asking, once again “What are you doing, Mom?” always keeping me in his sight, checking in again when he pauses his flurry of activity and seems to sense I’m becoming too worried.

His mind is as restless as his body. Always questioning where we are and were we’re headed next, mapping out future adventures and reciting and confirming the name of every town we travel through, repeating which one follows the next to get him where he wants to go. When the sun goes down he moves on to memorizing the stars, trying to remember their stories and patterns, trying to figure out how they too can tell him more about where he is. Or where he might go next.

It’s important to have a firm understanding of where you are when you are so determined to explore so many places on your own and so committed to always finding your way back home.

Lex is confident in where he is and where he’s going—much more so than I’d prefer a four-year-old I’m responsible for be.

Of course, he’s five now.

And truthfully, he’s rarely the one who is lost.

He explained to me last month that every morning he pledges allegiance to the “magical states of America.”

Some times I start to forget we’re all a part of those magical states.

And then Lex runs by, in the middle of some new discovery, wearing his invisible shoes.

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