He's slipping away. I can feel it in the way he lets his hand - so big now - fall from mine as we walk down the sidewalk. When, if I'm lucky, he will freeze in place as I lean in to kiss his cheek. Or worse, he pulls back or turns away, and I only graze a few hairs on his head. I miss that soft cheek and those grasping hands.
Those hands once squeezed my face and pulled me in for a slobbery kiss a hundred times a day. They would reach for me at all hours of the day and night. Those sweet chubby fingers that held onto as much of me as they possibly could, because somehow I could never be too close.
It's good that he doesn't need me, that he's growing independent. I know this in my head, but the rest of me is having a moment. The rest of me isn't finished being that person he used to call "The BEST Mommy in the world!" The rest of me is not at all prepared to be the equivalent of a blinking red nose on the face of my son's social life. I need more years. I've still got so much mommy awesomeness to give.
So forgive me when he skins his knee and I brighten a little. Don't judge me when I revel in his next sick day. Bare with me if I look forward to hearing a terrified voice scream, "Mommy!" after a 2 a.m. nightmare. Let me have these things, because even though my brain knows they're bad, the rest of me needs to recover from days like today, when he calls me MOM (eye-roll included) in front of his friends and does not want me to stay and have lunch with him at school.