He’s struggling, stretching between the little boy he’s been and that older person he can see in the distance, the shadow of himself he thinks he’d like to be.
Already he’s rebelling, fighting against the life he has, asking for something different, though he’s not sure yet what that something might be.
Tonight I found him separating his belongings: things to keep (books, achievements) things to discard (Lego, costumes). Resolute, he grows the one pile, the discard pile, faster than the other.
When I ask if he’s sure about this item and that, he gives me that look, the one that tells me he has been sure for some time, for as long as I’ve pretended time was standing still, for as long as I’ve tried to believe things will never really change.
Now I can see it coming. That moment he eventually casts home into the discard pile, when life for him consists of some hitherto unknown collection of not-home items, when the past remains and he is gone.
And so tonight, when he asks me to snuggle instead of reading to him, when he asks me to warm him up, I climb willingly into his soft, dimly lit world and hold him tight. When eventually I extricate myself, insisting it’s time to sleep, I do so wondering why I didn’t just stay the whole night.