We arrived home from dinner with friends at 9:30, and several of the children were asleep in the car. The night was dark and star-lit. We left the car on the driveway and pulled back the seat, so I could unbuckle my little guy and lift him into my arms.
Whether he was fully asleep or just allowing me to baby him, I don’t know. He folded around my body, and I walked slowly up the steps and into the house, through the first floor, up the staircase, to his bedroom.
My daughter helped me peel off his jacket and clothing and pulled soft, fuzzy pajamas from his drawer for me to dress him. His eyes fluttered open and he smiled, loving being taken care of, as I loved doing this for the first time in a long time.
He’s only 7, but we both enjoy him remaining the baby for at least a little while.
Later, as the girls drifted off to sleep and he curled into his pillow, my eldest boy climbed into bed beside me. Sad. “You’ll never be able to carry me in from the car again,” he said.
True enough. He’s 12 now and far too tall or big for me to lift him. Those days are faint memories for us both.
And as much as he wants to grow up, he still wants to remain my little boy. As I want him to. And as neither of us can have.
We hugged amid the tears and acceptance of this-is-where-we-are, and I eventually tucked him into the top bunk.
“Mommy?” he asked. “Even if I say I don’t like notes in my lunch, that they’re embarrassing, will you still write them to me?”
I nodded. “I will write you notes for as long as you’ll let me,” I said.
This childhood time flies by far too fast. I remember a friend telling me when Asher was 3 months old that it doesn’t start to get fun until they’re nearing a year. I remember someone saying little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.
And I know now all of that is true.
It gets more fun, and it gets harder, and it goes by like the sun setting quickly on the horizon – if you don’t notice it, you will have missed it.
I try to stop and see the clouds in the formations, and the sky in its palette of colors, and the notes of the orchestra concert before it ends, and the song that my lovely boy sings on the stage at the choir concert and talent show.
I try to see it all, but life is busy and sometimes I don’t notice it. The other night, Asher was trying to talk to me, and I was cleaning up emails on the iPad. “You’re not even listening!” he cried, and he was right.
So I turned it off and put it away and looked into my boy’s blue eyes and touched his cheek.