The other day I was painting my freshly cut toenails a bright California pink when my three year old came bouncing over, his still chubby cheeks jiggling with each step. He stared intently at my hand as it swiped another glossy coat onto my big toe, fully enthralled with the process and precision. I could see the gears turning in his mind. Why is mommy putting this on her toes? What is it? What does it feel like? Why do mine look different? So many questions present on his face. His brow furled before he sped off with purpose into the playroom, and I directed my attention back onto my toes, trying hard to be as still as possible to avoid touching my skin with the brush. After the last swipe I leaned back in my chair in satisfaction with a job well done and opened my Kindle to read while I waited for my nails to dry. Within seconds my boy came bounding back into the room, all big eyes and white teeth, and planted his foot right next to mine with proud assurance. My immediate reaction was jumping to the side so he wouldn’t ruin my perfectly painted nails and exclaiming, “Watch out! You will mess up mommy’s toes!” But he stood there stoic as a statue, just waiting for me to notice the treasure that he had brought. I relaxed a bit and looked down to see ten small, stubby toes with nails scribbled with waxy color. He shoved out his hand to reveal his paintbrush of choice, a crisp, new crayon and exclaimed with three year old gusto, “Rainbow!”. It was only a fraction of a second, but it was enough time to contemplate my reaction. In his world, coloring those toes was a serious accomplishment, an independent feat of creativity that I could’ve either dismissed completely or absolutely reveled in. So I reveled. His tiny toes, imperfectly scribbled with the colors of the rainbow, were Beethoven’s 5th. They were Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. They were Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet. They were his masterpiece, and if I hadn’t already painted my own toes, I would’ve colored them too. Because it is these little moments that I live for. It is these little snippets of time that will pass by quicker than I can blink unless I can recognize them, grab onto their tails and pull them back to me in order to hold on long enough to remember. Sometimes I don’t have the right reaction; the adult in me wins and I miss the moment and it is forgotten. But I am trying to be more present because I know that one day I will long for those little moments again. I will long for scribbled toes.