The other day I called home. I can't remember why, it doesn't really matter, but Junior answered the phone. We engaged in our usual witty chit chat and then he excitedly began telling me about his day. And as I listened to him, I heard something different. It was so subtle, I may have missed it if I had been preoccupied, but there it was.
His voice has taken on this ever so slight raspy quality. It's not a Peter Brady squeak, it's just this deeper undertone. It's there. And it took my breath away.
I've noticed a difference in him over the past few months. He's always been so mature anyway, but this is different. I've always said he was a 40 year old man trapped in a child's body, and I think the 40 year old man is trying to get out.
He's taller. Almost as tall as I am. I can't see the top of his head anymore when he asks me to help him tame his unruly curls. He's not as clumsy as he has been in the last few years. He walks taller, with more confidence. Almost graceful. He just doesn't seem like a kid anymore.
The other night he had just gotten out of the shower and he thrust his armpit in my face. "Look!" he said. "I'm getting hair under my arms!"
And then yesterday I was at work and he sent me a text message.
"Mom, when am I allowed to date? Because there is this girl that I like and I want to ask her before someone beats me to it."
What happened to my baby? Where is that blue eyed little boy with the dimples, who messed up my house with his hot wheels? The one who wore his Woody costume every day for an entire year? The one who used to splash in puddles and beg me to read Miss Spider books and watch Bob the Builder?
I miss that little boy. Where did he go?
As a mom I want so badly to cling to him. To keep him young and sweet and innocent. Friday afternoon I watched his face as he talked to me, I watched the way his eyes widened as he told a story, how the corner of his mouth turned up as he said something funny, and how his eyes crinkled at the corners when he laughed. Every once in a while I would see that little boy who used to live here.
And every once in a while I would glimpse the man who will be here soon.
And again, it took my breath away.