Mama Sentimental

May 11, 2010

By the time he's done being two years old, he's not going to fit under my jacket in the baby carrier anymore. I hope at that point Jem will also stop waking up well before the sun, but I'm not putting any money on it. And meanwhile, we have our best talks in the morning, when I've dragged myself out of bed and out the door, and he's snuggled into my chest. He likes when the cars go by ("More come cars!"), when he sees a school bus (a "butt"), and he points every time he sees a mailbox ("my-bock").

People always say, "Kids grow up in a flash.” But what I think they mean is, Kids remind you how life goes by in a flash.

It was on one of our walks last summer when Jem discovered his shadow. Like, although he'd seen it before, he really _noticed_ it for the first time. We were down at the end of the neighborhood, and he started waving, and his shadow waved too. He loved it, and pointed, and I told him, "It's your shadow!" He kept smiling and waving, and wouldn't walk another step.

I finally realized that he didn't want to leave because he thought his shadow wouldn't come with him. "Home!" he kept saying, pointing to it.

"Ohh," I said, "don't worry. It'll come home with you." He looked at me, with the biggest blue eyes. And then, slowly, solemnly, his little blond self decided to go on his way, waving every few steps, the sun lighting up his tiny back, and his small legs stepping so carefully that I thought I really might lose it.

"Don't worry!" a passing neighbor told Jem, laughing. "It'll always be there for you!"
Jem was confused when he got under the shade of a large tree, and he stopped and scanned the sidewalk. "Home!" he said plaintively.

I quickly scooted him back into the sun, because that was it, the last time that it was the first time that Jem walked his shadow home.