And so your baby springs to his feet and – oops, health wait! down? no! up! go! – toddles toward the flowers – wait! stop! flowers! ooh! – and then – hey! up! – toward you toward you toward you – come here baby! – and your heart swells as he pitches forward, anesthetist all leg-torque and flushed cheeks, your big precious boy using all the power of his newfound mobility to race to you, to fling his little self…
… right past you, right past you, and then, suddenly – ooh, look, ball! – down he goes. And gets up again, and toddles away, not looking back.
And you are torn between two feelings: a fierce pride in your wee determined lad, who is growing so fast, so very fast, and who will no doubt speed – away from you, alone, strong – into a brilliant future, and, also, a terrible, guilty sadness over the fact that, yes, he is growing so fast, so very fast, and he will one day – too soon – speed away from you. And not look back.
And so you settle on a third feeling, another (is it? yes, it is) shameful feeling: a tiny bit of satisfaction that he stumbles, that he will continue to stumble, now and again, as he reaches for the flowers, the ball, the sky. That he needs you. That he will need you for a very long time.
Not forever, but long enough.
(Is it so wrong to want him to slow down? To want to not let go of his hand?)