I see it in your little clothes. One minute they seem too big, then suddenly appear small and faded and overly pushy that time has passed and you’re growing up.
While you are busy growing up and out, I’m keeping a watchful heart for rocks at your feet, fallen trees, and thorny stems. I know I’m missing some of the magic by eyeing the path, but I’m also walking in amazement and wonder at your every step. You’ll grow tired of my direction and lead, you’ll long to forage the way and turn where you like. I can see it in your little clothes. They tell the story of a beautiful boy who grew and grew and amazed people along the way and was unconditionally loved. Stains from the Earth and hard play and adventure. Sand from the beaches and parks and playgrounds. Fade from wear and washing. It appears they keep shrinking, but that’s just my heart playing tricks on me.
Someday you’ll be grown and I’ll be more grown and I’ll stare out the window and wonder where the time went and what this all means. You’ll need advice and money and comfort; young and distant. I’ll say things like ‘stand up for yourself’ and ‘be brave’ and you’ll either do it or you won’t. I’ll love you either way. You’ll find someone to love and have children, or not. The world will be your oyster and at your fingertips. I’ll love your children more than life, if you have them. I’ll tolerate your life partner, even though inside, no one will ever love you enough for my liking. They’ll want to change you, the way that partners do. You’ll change or you won’t. I’ll love you either way. I’ll remind you that you were born perfect, but know deep inside that only a mom feels that way. And all moms feel that way, so know that about your partner, too. They were also born perfect.
Maybe we’ll talk about God or the meaning of life. I’ll tell you that energy is everything and kindness is the only real solution, regardless the problem. But you’ll try other ways; your mind is innovative and curious. You’ll dig holes and spin circles and make someone mad. There’s so much value in those mistakes; the road signs to life. You’ll be hard on yourself because that’s how you are, but one day hopefully, you’ll soften to your unique design. I’ll tell you to meditate and you’ll roll your eyes. But I know that long from now, you’ll hear a distant whisper that will make you wonder why you didn’t start before. Maybe by then, you’ll measure time with little laundry of your own.
And then I’ll grow too old and my time will come to do whatever it is we do when our time comes. I’ll try to comfort you but I’ll know that you will have to navigate your losses in your own life changing way. You’ll think of me when you see the moon, maybe, or a rare plant you know I’d love. You’ll say things like ‘my mom would have loved to photograph that’ or think of our silly antics. Mixed emotions will rush you, but you’ll handle them well and hope for dreams and peace and maybe a sign. Hopefully, I’ll set a good enough example that when you grow too old too, you won’t be afraid.
Sitting here with your little laundry on a sleepy Sunday morning feels insignificant and infinite all at once. Our story is ancient. It’s written in the stars and yet, it’s unfolding before us. The too-big shirts keep shrinking and the sun and moon keep doing their thing. We are blessed beyond measure to share this time and space together. Every second is a gift; imagine that when you’re struggling to see the sunny spot on the living room floor. And remember, that little laundry was once too large; you’ve moved mountains.