This is Lucas, my little man, last summer. I had just come home from a short ride on the bike when he ran up to me for what I thought was a hug. I dropped the helmet on the grass and went to pick him up, but he skittered off at the last second and went straight for the dinged up brain bucket. Words were new to him then, his learning pace was measured if not a little slow by the standards his sister Olivia had set a few years before. But he knew “Daddy” and “motorbike” and “hat” and managed to triumphantly string them all together into his then 17-month old version of a sentence. “daddy hat, motorbike?”

He’s always had a penchant for inflection, making almost every statement a question through a simple tonal adjustment. “Daddy, hat?” The helmet of course is giant sized on him. Made him look like a melon-sized water soaked cotton swab attached to a dandelion stem, top heavy and swaying as he learned to balance his own weight with that of what he’d just hoisted upon his shoulders. It’s a metaphor I never wanted him to learn but one I simply have no power to prevent. He was so triumphant in getting it on by himself and even more so when it remained atop his head after shaking side-to-side with all the fury of a pound puppy with its rag. Then he just stood there for a minute steadying himself and I was able to get this photo. For anyone who knows me they know I am awful with a camera. But this one time it worked and I finally got what I saw with my eyes to come out for others to see for themselves. One moment in millions forever owned. A glimpse of my forever-active beautiful boy with all his beauty standing briefly-still.

Lucas is 2 plus now. His word list has grown ten fold and his smarts are at dangerous levels. He has none of the trepidation that Olivia has – she thinks ahead enough to predict certain consequences while Lucas just dives. Head first and all-bodied. There’s no thought of a fall, it’s just flying without fear. He’ll will be the one who gets hurt at school doing idiotic things to impress a cute girl. Olivia will be right beside him quietly chiding him while administering to his wounds and telling their mother or I in great calamitous detail about how Lukey did a whole assortment of things he really shouldn’t have done. Nurse Betty will shake her head at him, she does now already, but her consternation truly stems from a level of love that I imagine can only be found between siblings. She is simply the most amazing Big Sister Lucas could ever possibly have. He’ll probably never understand it until he has kids of his own one day so until then I remind him of that fact daily. He’s our Shemp, she’s our Larry. I guess I’m a balder Moe.

Although it’s just 1 picture of thousands taken, and untold numbers of those not, merely another marker on our family timeline, I love this picture. There was a similar one of me on a mini-Harley wearing a diaper. and boots. I see myself in my son, but he’s already a better, more forgiving, more adventurous pint-sized version of a man than I. And he has kick ass hair.

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