The change is subtle, yet always shocking.
One moment, he’s a baby, crawling and squawking for milk. A perfect picture of dependence. It was only a few days ago that I gave birth to him, right?
Then one unexpected day, a step is taken. A precarious, hesitant, definitive step. And from that moment on, the little back seems straighter, stout legs grow firmer. The curtain falls on the infant, and rises to reveal the little boy in the next scene.
He turns to me, delighted to have caught sight of his target, then hurls himself in my direction, whether I’m prepared for the consequences or not. One, two, three drunken steps and he falters, ready to be caught in my arms and smothered with victory kisses, only to wriggle away to repeat the whole routine again.
So I kneel on the kitchen linoleum once more, arms extended to collect the proud little figure as he plays his new game.
Dishes line the sink and counter, and I can smell the stink of the garbage reminding me that it needs to be taken out for the second time today, but both can wait. Let me gather him a few more times, feel the soft skin of his little arms wrap around my neck, blond curls tickling my cheek.
Just a few more times.
Before the next change comes.