The nature of the universe / by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 16 days I'll be posting 500 words a day as part of a creative writing challenge. You can join the FB group here.*


This morning my almost two and a half year old walked over to me as I was sitting on the couch, peered up with his giant brown eyes, and casually asked if the universe is moving.

I grabbed my phone and asked him to repeat it. Instagram or it didn't happen. 

I never expected to be that person, but this tiny human just asked me if the universe moves. Do tiny humans do that? My memory of being his age is sparse, so it all seems like, what the f*ck, I thought only Mayans and conspiracy nuts say stuff like that. 

If I had to be really honest, I’d make today’s post a list of all of the weird and funny and insightful things he says or does because I want to remember it when we are both older, when I will wish I could still hold him in my arms and sing You Are My Sunshine to him while he rests his head on my shoulder. Future me would still change the words at the end so that I’m pleading to an imaginary captor, “please don’t take my Jojo away.”

Sometimes I look at him and I think, “I want to remember your face like this forever," which is often followed by, “Someday you will love someone in a way that will be greater than your love for me.” Because this is the cycle of life. This is decades away and already I feel loss.

But I attempt, however feebly, to ration posting about him because I know I am not the first woman to have a child nor the first to find hers well, interesting. I want people to know that I get that too. Milestone charts—and other broad markers of childhood—exist only because there are giant swaths of children who are exactly alike.

I convince myself that only part of my captivation with him is adoration. Okay, a huge part. The other (quieter) part is being able to watch life happen and know that someday he may be like me, obsessing for hours that he said the wrong thing at a dinner party. I document him and look for the perceptible tells when the magic and innocence begin to slowly slip away. It’s like something inside of me is saying, “This is too good to be true. Capture this now.”

When he was a newborn, Ryan used to ask other parents what their favorite age was. If there was a specific answer, usually it was from a dad (“Seven months!”). But more often than not, parents would answer vaguely, “Oh it just keeps getting better.”

For now, that is the truest thing I know.