Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Here, part 2: this place, right now.



Here is the front porch of a little country store up the road, the one that sells the donuts on Saturday mornings. Only now, it's deep in the middle of a summer afternoon, complete with humidity and hot breeze and bluebottles buzzing all around the wrought iron table where we sit, sweaty but satisfied, drinking Snapple Apple and eating Moon Pies.

Sam is getting older.
This seems like an obvious thing, one not worth writing out loud here, but for some reason, today, it hits me hard and unexpectedly.

He's just ridden his bike, his two-wheeled bike with no training wheels, a mile up the road to this store while I ran behind him with the stroller. This very same stroller once held him, all bare feet and chubby cheeks, as we pushed it through the streets of London and carried it up and down the steps in the Paris Metro. Now, it is full of his baby brother, and I have to run to keep up with the bike.

Teaching my child to ride a bike is not teaching my child to go away from me, exactly...but the speed at which he is traveling makes me painfully aware that this is, indeed, what's happening. Not now, maybe, not next month when we begin school again, not even next spring when he's old enough for First Communion...but someday.

There's going to come a moment when he won't want me to hold his hand or ruffle his hair. I might do it anyway, but I'll know he'd rather I didn't. Already, there's a different distance in our hugs, and I notice he no longer wraps his entire body around me like he used to. I remember cradling him on my side, balanced on my left hip, and how his little head nestled perfectly in the recess of my shoulder where it meets my neck. Now I cradle his baby brother and watch as he deftly presses Lego pieces together, humming the theme from Star Wars. His legs seem impossibly long.

For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow...

I have never felt sad about his growing up- he has always seemed to be exactly the right age to me, with time passing at just the rate it should. Lately, though, I feel it whizzing by like the breeze through my hair on a really good downhill, one where I would take my feet off the pedals and stick my legs out to the sides and just hold on for the ride.

I guess I will just hold on. I'm not sure what else to do. Are there other options?