I watch him as he walks into the building without me. His body has been stretching taller over the past few months and I know it won’t be long until he will be able to stand toe-to-toe with me and look straight into my face. His stride is confident, but relaxed. My son is becoming a man.
This isn’t the first time that I have dropped him off and watched him walk away on his own. In fact, over the past few years he has been not only more involved in individual activities, but he has also become a true help to me. He often runs into the store to buy the item I need for dinner so that I don’t have to wake Meghan from her car seat. He takes walks and bike rides by himself and plays outdoors for hours, outside my sight and calling range, but within the borders we’ve discussed. This moment was no different than so many other moments over the past few years.
And yet it was.
There was no difference today, except that my heart and my eyes paused to really see, and suddenly months of moments seemed to careen into the present and I fully realized who he has become. And in that brief moment, I also caught a glimpse of the man he will soon be.
Sure, he’s a tween and still learning the balance between funny and obnoxious, concerned and bossy. And he’s our firstborn, which means that we are still learning the balance between freedom and boundaries, guiding and controlling.
I watched in him for this bittersweet moment and wanted to hold him close, preventing any more time from passing. But at the same time, I couldn’t wait for the future when I will be able to see all that my son is.