I pressed my lips against his forehead and caught his sweet baby smell, the one that belongs only to him.
Running my hand over his feathery curls, I felt his weight leave my arms as i passed him through the door to his teacher, who accepted him with a smile and a hug.
“Good morning Baby S! I’m so happy you are here today.”
As she lifted her face to me, I noticed her eyes were red.
“My son left for college this morning. He has hair just like Baby S when he was his age.”. Her eyes shone and the lines of her cheeks creased as she turned her head and smiled down at my son.
I searched for words that might comfort her but settled on a smile when I found none and walked to my car, my empty, weightless arms swinging by my sides.
Glancing in the rearview mirror, I paused at the sight of the two empty carseats reflected back at me before driving away, the rumbling of the car filling my ears and drawing my attention to the unwelcome silence.
Someday that will be me.
Someday my sons will have “left for college this morning” and there will be nobody to fill my arms, to make my back ache with their weight, to chatter incessantly about everything and nothing.
They are my Everything. Where will I be when Everything ends?
I hear people speak wistfully about the days when they will have more time for themselves, to pursue their own interests, to travel… but the thought of what comes with that makes my eyes burn and my stomach turn.
When I look around my living room and see the clutter of scattered toys and wish for a little more organization, I remind myself that one day this room will be devoid of superheroes, legos and Hot Wheels that pierce the soles of my feet when I’m careless. I realize with a tightening in my throat that the organization I long for will be here way too soon, long before I’m ready.
With every “Happy Birthday” comes the inverse calculation of how many years I have left of seeing their smiles on a daily basis, before they go off into the world.
I made them my Everything, but I couldn’t help it… I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I will pay a price for that someday.
Missing Baby S, I thought about picking him up early and stealing a little more time with him on this day, when I still can.
But then I thought of his teacher, who looked at my son and was reliving days with her own. Today I will let her arms be heavy with his weight for a little longer.