He’s wearing nothing but the blue camo underroos when he comes running at me.

I barely have time to brace before all that stocky, nearly-four-year-old life slams into my knees. Amazing, to be missed like this.

Today he asks me to wave from the door while he chops down that oak tree in the front yard. The tree that’s lived at least ten of his lifetimes. He’s going at it with a hammer and a rusted screw he found in the toolbox we barely ever use.

His determination is matched only by his desire to be watched.

“Come closer,” he tells me. “Come close to the door, so you can see me.”

“Are you waving, mom?”

“Yes, yes Micah. I’m waving.”

“Come closer!” he bellows.

I stand at the screen door and watch all that determination. It’s beautiful. He belts the tree and shovels raw earth and stops to watch and see if I’m watching.

I am.

“I see you,” I yell out to him.

And I do. I see that spirit of bright, flaming passion. I see that heart always ready to rush in and save. I see that strength. I see that warrior. I see that rock.

He is hammering hard at the tree. Last days of fall have set it’s leaves on fire. I work just as hard at not noticing the mess – the hole where there was once lawn, the rusting tools lined up next to his illuminator sneakers, the cup I just bought last week for the bathroom sink and the bathroom sink only.

There’s the boy beyond the mess, beyond the notes from frustrated teachers, beyond the boxes and labels and challenges.

“Do you see?” he asks again.

“Yes,” I say.

And I do.

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