As he sits across from me at the dinner table I see the developing muscles in his arm flex just from lifting his fork to his mouth.
His shoulders seem broader.
The hair growing on his upper lip is thickening ever so slightly.
His appetite to feed his growing body seems to double every day.
He wavers between the little boy I’ve known for eight years and the young man he’s becoming. One minute he’s smashing baseballs so hard in the backyard, I’m afraid he’ll put it though the neighbor’s window an acre away. The next he’s dissolving into frustrated tears because he can’t find the ball he hit into the weeds.
As he passes me on the porch he grabs me around the waist and stoops to tuck his head under my chin in a spontaneous hug. “I love you mom!”
He’s almost as tall as I am. How long until he’s too cool to hug me?
Then I realize — He’s closer to nine than eight. And then he’ll be 10. We’ll be in the double digits.
Suddenly it feels like time is sprinting forward, pushing us toward the finish line. Eight years of memories — late-night baby snuggles, his first Halloween, the day he learned to swim in Lake Michigan, the Mother’s Day card he made me when he was five, his first PeeWee football touchdown — flash through my mind.
It was all so fast. I’m running out of time.
It’s not that I don’t want him to grow up. I do. Since he was born I’ve looked forward to seeing what sort of man he will become. But somehow during those first years it seemed like time would go slower for us.
Now I feel opportunity slipping away. The weeks, the days, the hours I have to influence him, to make sure he can thrive in the big, wide world are numbered.
Nine years and five months until the world legally considers him an adult.
And I know it’s more urgent than ever to fully invest. To teach the hard lessons. To love deeply.
More urgent than ever to wear holes in the carpet by my bedside where I kneel and pray, asking God to bless him, protect his heart and to help me parent him well in spite of all of my inadequacies.
He’s talking to his little brother and I overhear him say, “Yeah, Wade. Someday you and me won’t be here. We’ll go to college and get married and stuff.”
He doesn’t realize how soon Someday is coming. But I know.