by Jennifer on October 28, 2015


He was greeted by an excited chorus of voices.  I could only see the side of his face from my position outside the door of his preschool classroom, but I could see his broad smile and his quick little intake of breath that signaled excitement.

“I brought my creeper.  I named him Skeletron,” he announced, holding out the green stuffed animal with pride.

The weight that had been sitting in my chest for months, the one that had been there since I watched his last classroom tackle him in a farewell hug riddled with giggles and love just before our move, lifted just a little.

My heart felt lighter.  He is happy to be here.  He is excited.

Smiling, I turned back to the stroller where Baby E was waiting patiently for us to say our farewells.  I put my hands on the handlebar and began the long walk home.  After pushing for a few steps, I realized how easy it is to push now, how little effort it took to move through the sidewalks and over the curbs with one seat empty.

The stroller was lighter, but our walk home was so much quieter, the soft chatter of the birds having replaced our earlier conversation about which dinosaur ran the fastest.  I missed him already.

Last night, I picked that sleeping four year old up out of bed to carry him into E’s room to sleep with us.  I realized I was struggling as I lifted his weighty, limp frame and almost had to put him back into bed to get a better grip.

Was I getting feeble?  As part of my brain began berating my fitness level and recalibrating my workout plans for the week, another part reminded me that S weighed only forty pounds at his most recent doctor’s visit.  A year ago, when I carried him everywhere, he weighed 36 and I’d just had a baby.  How could four pounds make such a profound difference?

And then I felt his feet bumping the tops of my knees and his head dangling over the ridge of my shoulder as I lumbered down the hall.  It was not his weight, but his size that made the walk so difficult.

He was long and lean now, and there was very little left of the curves and plump baby roundness to grip as I carried him.

Maybe that is God’s way of keeping us from carrying our babies forever; He stretches them out and makes them difficult to hold.

I leaned my head into his neck, hoisted him into a better position and tightened my arm around the soft skin of his back, warm with sleep.

Too bad, I’m not giving up yet.

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