Please stop, World. Just stop. Just for a second.
Joseph is turning seven in a couple of weeks. I don't know how it happened. I tucked him for a nap in his crib ten minutes ago, I swear, and now look at him. Broadening shoulders and a defined chin. Long, lanky legs. Where did the baby go?
And I know, because I've done this before, that the precious remants of his babyhood that still linger will not linger for long. My mother's heart sees it coming.
Before too much longer, he'll probably stop trying to build nests for the birds in our backyard trees.
Before too much longer, he'll probably stop asking to sit in my lap during church.
Very soon his first tooth is (finally, he would say) going to fall out, and a very big and grown-up looking one will take its place.
Before too much longer, I doubt he will slip his hand into mine in the parking lot.
So stop, World, just for a second. Your busy demands have kept me hopping so quickly that I'm afraid I might have missed something. This third child of mine, sandwiched into a wad of noisy siblings, is so easy-going. Have I given him enough of myself? Am I forgetting to tell him something?
Let time stop just long enough that I still have to lean down to kiss the top of his head. It smells like dirt and little-boy sweat. It stinks. And yet, I could breathe it in all day. It's the scent of him, that little man, my youngest son, the child who has gently and ferociously swollen my heart until it hardly fits in my chest.
You get to have him for a long time, World. But today? Today he's still six. And he's still mine.