He runs across the grass, searching for hills and obstacles.
You go this way, I'll go that way. We'll meet in the middle, he tells me. With authority.
It's New Year's Day — Justin's last day of vacation, our last day of relaxation — and Noah and I are taking a walk outside of my mom's. She manages a suburban apartment complex, so there's plenty of ground to cover. Steps to climb. Directions to choose from.
The sky's been overcast, ominous, all day. The air has a piercing bite that wasn't here in 2011's version of winter. The muted grey sky prompts Noah to look up and say, we're in Kansas, mommy!
But he isn't bummed out, searching for rainbows and munchkins; blue skies and pink bubbles. He's just looking for the next hill to climb. Chattering away about paths to take — the stairs? the hill? the short-cut? the concrete path? — while routing and re-routing our direction. Completely in control, and only focused on the now.
While us adults are feeling the weight of another work year and an over-achieving list of goals, it's another day for him. There's no distinction between now and then — no "refresh" button. Every day is a Happy New Day. Full of promises, milestones, do-overs. Full of hope, determination, forgiveness.
He doesn't wait for a single day to celebrate — he always has the motivation of a New Year. He doesn't look back and reflect on a yearly recap, or even realize how much has passed. Yet I'm walking two steps behind him, listening to words and phrases he didn't know a year ago. Watching a little boy that suddenly sprouted, ready to tackle whatever terrain comes at him.
Eventually I stopped taking a parallel path and followed his lead.
I preferred the view.