Honestly, I never saw this day coming
never contemplated how I would feel
When I look across the room and I see my oldest son changing.
He turned eight years old last week
and it was like a light switch.
I’m staring at a young man
who has lived in my presence
under the same roof
breathing in the same air as I
these past eight years,
and I catch a glimpse of the man
he will grow up to be.
My heart is arrested with the thought
He is one step farther away from me
and immediately my soul is quiet.
Instinctually, I want to grasp his arm
and not let go.
I want to keep him closer to my side.
It’s a selfish, desperate thought,
I know this but I cannot deny that it is there.
He is changing and I can’t stop it, nor do I want to.
My mind rushes back to the moment he was pulled from my body
and I immediately felt his warmth, not ours.
This moment, as I stare at him, is that same feeling.
Soon he will be going in a different direction
that may be I am not allowed to follow
and if I can it won’t be as closely.
I want to close my fingers tight around his
and not let go despite all his tugging
but my heart… oh my heart, tells me to do so
and I know what I must do
and so I will.
I will hold him in my eye sight
be he across the room or baseball field.
I will walk with him but feet away
for as long as he will let me.
And I will encourage him to go on
I will feign indifference… or may be I won’t
“I hope you don’t get tired of holding my hand,” and I kiss him good night after our prayers.
He gives me a kiss on the lips and an endearing smile, as if to say never and he says
as much. I believe him tonight and I hang on to that promise
daring my heart to stay open.
How silly that my heart is guarded, but it is.
“Sweet dreams, my son.”
I take one last look and smile
because he smiles back
with that boyish grin.