I hold his hand like I would hold my boyfriends hand. He is 3-4 inches taller than me, and with me clocking in at 5’1, this is average for his age. We look like a couger couple, with me in my early thirties and he knocking on the door of fourteen. We weave in and out of the crowded metro stations, the sidewalks, the ballpark, the Smithsonian. He’s never been in a huge city before, and he is overwhelmed and I’m getting frustrated with trying to keep him, my mother and my sister in my line of vision and make sure no one gets on the wrong train.
In the chaos, he lunges for my hand and I half-walk, half-drag, him out of the crowd. He doesn’t let go until we’re in my apartment. He’s thirteen, going into 8th grade next year, and right on that precipice where each time I see him (which is few and far between) I expect his voice to have changed. I expect him to be too cool for Aunt Stephie, but he isn’t. His feet are enormous but he still curls his long legs on my lap to be scratched. In a year, everything will be different. The next few years are going to see him shoot up another six inches at least, his long lean body jumping running climbing leaping so much now will likely be calmed. He’ll be charming the girls and playing basketball and trying his first beer and probably driving his truck way too fast.
But this past weekend, I got to have my little boy for maybe the last time. I got to cuddle with him a little, rub sunscreen on his face, watch a cartoon movie. I know it is fleeting and I’m so glad I take the extra minute to run my hand across his back, kiss the top of his head. It’s gone so fast and yet not, since he was a baby I held at the age of seventeen and that seems several lifetimes ago to me.
I splurged and got us all behind-the-dugout seats for the baseball game this weekend. He’s a big Braves fan, and they were playing the Nationals here and he was in heaven. We stayed for the entire game, ate peanuts and ballpark fries and it was a great day for baseball. He leaped up and hugged me in the restaurant when I told him where our seats were and that alone was worth every penny.
He’s the best boy. I sure do love him.