“Goodnight mom!” he said when I tucked him in last night. “See you when I’m ten!”
“See you when you’re ten!”
“Mom, see you when I’m double digits!” he grinned as I turned off the light. “See you when I’m pre-teen!”
He said it all like they were good things… even the pre-teen bit.
He doesn’t know that while he slept with a big smile on his face, I cried myself to sleep.
I love my ten year old. I am proud of the sweet, bright kid he is. But I remember sitting on the purple couch in the house where he first lived, holding him while he slept, staring into his face, smelling him for hours. And I remember thinking then that I needed to sit there longer memorizing it all so I could conjure it up again when he got older.
Now he is ten.
And it is already gone.
When I conjure up images, it is always this morning’s smile. It is ten year old boy smell after playing football at recess. It is the sound of loud laughter when he is tickled or his Dad says something funny. It is the slap of his high-five when he scores 100 on a test.
Of course, I remember things from ten years ago. I remember how he used to play with his hair while he slurped down a sippy cup of milk. I remember how he kept his brown eyes on the light coming through the window behind that purple couch. I remember how total strangers thought he was staring into their souls. I remember that the only place he would sleep was his car seat. I remember that he puked every third day. I remember that he used to pocket food in his cheek for hours if he didn’t like what he was eating. I remember his huge, pudgy hands. I remember breathing in his baby scent, while nuzzling his neck. I remember reading to him. I remember walking into the living room to find his Dad asleep on that purple couch and him asleep in the hi-chair covered in mushed-up, orange squash.
I remember millions of moments. I just can’t feel the weight of him in my arms.
And he is only ten.