We got Joshua a telescope for his birthday this year. His birthday was in March, and it was freezing cold outside, so we didn't really get it out much. This week, however, is the week of the supermoon, so we decided it was an opportune time to get it out and figure out how it worked.
Last night we managed to get it working, but tonight we couldn't find the moon anywhere. Right as we were packing up the telescope, we saw it peeking out from over the tops of the trees, bright and glowing as promised. We didn't want to go to all the trouble of getting all the pieces back out, and we couldn't see it well from our yard because of the trees, so I told Joshua to grab his shoes and we would take a walk.
Hand in hand, I walked down the street with my 7-year old son, 9:30 at night, watching the sky and getting a good view of the astronomical phenomenon of the supermoon. Once we found a good spot, we took a few pictures and looked at it through his binoculars, eliciting from him one of my favorite responses ever: "Space is AWESOME!" We then walked back to the house, hand in hand, talking about space, and what he wanted to be when her grew up (a firefighter), his sister, school, his friend's telescope, and, well, little bits and pieces of everything.
On the surface it didn't look like much. The whole encounter took maybe 15 minutes. But tonight was one of the most precious moments I have had as a mom. I had the privilege of sharing in my son's joy as he discovered more about the world around him. I got to talk to him as a person, not a little kid, as we talked about real things. It wasn't a cutesy conversation with "funny things kids say." It was a real moment of connecting with him as the person God created him to be - an explorer, an adventurer, curious, questioning, and eager to discover.
It was also a reminder that Joshua is getting older - but it didn't make me sad. Sometimes, if I look at old photos or flip through old blog entries, I miss Baby Joshua. I miss that time when it was just him and me, and I took him everywhere. I miss carrying him and cuddling with him and smelling his baby-scent. But tonight, I didn't miss it. Tonight I saw a glimpse into the boy he is becoming - and has, in fact, become. Tonight I enjoyed Joshua as Joshua and soaked in the joy of a shared experience with him. It was an experience we could both be excited about and understand together.
I will never again go look at the moon or see the stars in the sky without feeling the excitement of a 7-year old boy enjoying a night of discovery and exploration...and remembering how wonderful it truly is to see my tiny baby become a full-grown boy.
You know what? Space is awesome.