“Look, daddy, look!”
My going-on-three-year-old son points out the window of the van as I drive home.
“Wow, the moon is big tonight, isn’t it?”
“Daddy, I want to get it.”
“Well, how are you going to get it?”
He thinks seriously for a moment, drawing out his “Um…” before saying decisively, “Catch it in net.”
“Good idea.” We are just about home. “We’ll get your net when we go inside, okay?”
I park, unlatch him from his seat, and carry him inside. “Go get your net.”
“Oh, yeah.” He races off to his room. I follow to turn on his light. He already has his toy drawer open and is rummaging through it. “How ‘bout green one, daddy?”
“The green net will be great.” He has several nets, which he uses for a type of basketball game instead of catching bugs.
I pick him up and we head outside. I hold him in my arms and he stretches, trying to reach the moon. “I can’t get it.”
“Here, get on my shoulders.”
He tries again. He groans with the effort. “Daddy do it.”
“No, you can do it. Let’s try this.” I grab him again, lifting him over my head. “Try again.” He swings his net unsuccessfully. “Almost. Try a few more times.” I stand on my tiptoes. “Careful, I’m going to try and jump. Get ready. One, two, three, jump!”
“I got it, daddy, I got it!”
I lower him. He shows me the moon, taking it out of the net and handing it to me. “Wow,” I say. “It’s so bright. What are you going to do with it?”
“Put it in my room.”
“Where in your room?”
“On the floor so everyone can see it.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
We go inside. He sets it carefully on the floor.
“Can I hold it?”
“No, daddy. It’s mine.”
I tell him it’s time for bed; it’s late enough he’s ready for it. He holds the moon in his hands as I change him. Getting his arms through the sleeves of his pajamas is complicated, but we manage.
“Time for night-night,” I tell him.
“Sleep with moon?”
“As long as you go to sleep.”
“Sleep for little bit?”
“For a long time. All night. But you can hold the moon if you want.”
I pray with him and sing to him. He smiles at me sweetly, sleepily. “It’s pretty.”
“It’s very pretty.”
“I will keep the moon.”
“You can keep it tonight, but tomorrow we have to put it back in the sky.”
“I will keep it.”
“Other kids want to see the moon, too. If you keep it here, no one else will be able to see it. You have to share.”
He looks at me seriously. “I want to share with daddy.”
I can’t help but smile. “That’s very nice. But we need to share with everyone, okay. Tomorrow, we put it back.”
One more song, and I close the door.
Every morning, my son gets up, leaves his room, and stands expectantly at the side of my bed. I sense him and turn to him, and he says, “Daddy, get up!” and I eventually do. This morning, however, when I turn to him, he says, “Daddy, I’m sharing the moon. I’m sharing it!”
I’m groggy and don’t understand.
“Get up, daddy, get up! I’ll show you!”
I get up and he leads me to the back door, which isn’t quite latched. He shouldn’t be able to open it on his own. He is clever, though. He opens the door for me, rushing out first. “Look!”
He points. The moon is there, high up, pale in the dim morning sky. “I threw it up there, all by me-self.”
“That was very nice of you,” I say. It’s beautiful there in the sky. I hope other kids point it out to their fathers. “But you can’t leave the house without mommy or daddy, okay?”
“Okay, daddy.” He’s grinning. “Wanna catch it.”
“Yeah. Catch it again.”
“No, not again. Let someone else catch it, okay?”