He stepped off the bus with his hand in his pocket and a grin on his face. He sauntered toward me as I waited on the front porch, and I could tell he was trying to disguise his excitement so he could save the drama for The Big Announcement, whatever it might be.
He stepped on the porch, and wordlessly, face flushed, he pulled a card out of his jeans pocket.
A library card. His very own library card.
In our city, children are eligible to receive a card when they reach second grade. To encourage them, a special, decorative card is issued to second graders only. With grand ceremony, second-grade teachers across our city give each interested student the highly coveted piece of plastic.
So when Stephen handed me his, I nodded at him knowingly. "It's a big deal," I said.
"I know," he said solemnly.
We came inside and he practiced writing his name so that, when he signed it on the card, it would be perfect. For 30 minutes, he had a conversation with himself trying to determine the most practical place to keep it. Mom's purse was certainly safer, but how he desperately wanted it in his own (and often lost) wallet. What's a boy to do? Mom's wallet won out, but only after careful instruction from him as to how I should take care of it.
I smiled at his pleasure in owning something real, something we didn't give to him. Is it my imagination, or did that boy of mine grow an inch taller in my kitchen today? I smile at him, with him, and for him to see him taking another tiny but firm step toward manhood.
This motherhood business gets sweeter every day.