The dull roar in the cafeteria gets quiet as the children file into the room, climbing up the risers and jostling each other into their proper position. I spy Little Boy K off to the left as he makes his way to the top row and wave my hand in the air so he knows I’m here. He gives me a big toothless grin and waves both arms before turning his attention back to his friends.
Seeing him up there like that recalls the image of him at his preschool graduation nearly a year ago. I mentally compare that picture to the one in front of me. He is much taller and fuller. He has a lot less teeth. Definitely a “boy” now; not even sure I can call him a “little boy”.
The music erupts and the children start to sing.
My God, he is so big…
Lost in the singing, K swings his hips to the music and I watch as he joyfully goes through the hand motions that accompany the words. He is singing about his “big-big dreams”.
All I can think about is how big-big he is getting.
It seems that before I’ve really had a chance to start the day, it’s nearly time for bed again.
And another day is crossed off the calendar, then another, and then a week is gone.
Before I know it, it’s time to flip the calendar to next month.
Another whole year of their lives has passed and the moments have slipped through my fingers like sand in the sandbox.
It’s field day at the school and I brush the sweat from my forehead as I reach for my water bottle. I help one little girl adjust her potato sack and gaze up to see her smile, bright enough to light up the whole field. The kids shout to each other, cheering each other on, and their anticipation charges the air around us as the bag-clad kindergarteners take their places at the starting line.
“On your mark.”
I play with them a little and take an exaggerated pause and then a giant inhale.
The children leap forward, hopping and stumbling in the tangled sacks. Their heads swivel left and right as their classmates cheer them on.
Their faces turn red with exertion and their breathing quickens as they reach the halfway point.
Some of them begin to tire out while others keep their eyes on the finish line with single-minded focus, rushing, faster and faster, to reach the end and the waiting group of clapping friends.
I feel the urge to reach out and grab K, to slow him down, to tell him the point of the race isn’t at the finish line, that he won’t find the “win” there.
I want to tell him to feel the way his feet stick to the inside of the sack and how the grass that has accumulated at the bottom itches at his ankles, to breathe in the sunshine and taste the air, to slow down and savor the swell inside that comes from being cheered on by his friends whom he misses when he is away from them even for just a few hours at night.
I want to reach out and grab him, to hold onto him, just the way he is right now, a toothless, curly-haired ball of boy, to steal just a few seconds out of this day.
He bounds toward the finish line where his friends are waiting. He glances back at me over his shoulder and smiles as I clap for him before he turns around and runs off…on to the next activity. With empty arms, I watch him get smaller as his body recedes into the distance of the schoolyard.
Slow him down? Not even a Mommy can do that…
Linking up with the wonderful folks over at Yeah Write #55 who ruin their eyesight every week by reading until they collapse and take time out of their very busy days to let you know that someone is listening.