big shadow

On Friday we went for a walk to the park and on our way home, Brandon chose to walk too. He held my hand as he talked to me and I choked back tears at the sweetness of the moment. It was dark out, and he kept pointing out his shadow. As we would get closer to the streetlights, his shadow would grow larger.

“I don’t want to get big, mom,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked.
“It scares me,” he replied.
I smiled.

I thought of what growing bigger means and for kids it means chores and school and peer pressure. They won’t get away with relics from their babyhood like binkies and bribes and temper tantrums.

I thought of what growing bigger means for adolescents: they are always under pressure. They try to be good at school or at sports or at music or having a lot of friends – basically find a niche where they thrive; a niche that keeps them afloat in the seemingly endless river of hormones and angst.

I thought of what it means for new adults: finding jobs and paying bills and securing an apartment and deciding what they want to do for a career. It means sorting through a lot of people with bad intentions to find the good ones. It means staking your own claim; finding your own way.

As I was pondering this, Brandon said, “Could you hold me mom?” So I scooped him up and we walked the last block with him in my arms, cradled like the baby he once was. “I just want to stay little,” he explained. And I kissed his head, wishing the same.

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