Today Thomas is six years old. SIX. He’s all angles and bony knees and quick movements and ideas, and he is astonishing to me.
He loves Legos and Spongebob Squarepants and books and his gerbil and robots; he hates peanut butter and carrots and is strangely averse to pizza. He likes zombies and monsters, until it’s bedtime.
He likes music of all kinds; he loves the 1812 Overture, which he calls “battle music,” and he loves the girl from iCarly, and he still loves above all else the Oasis song “Wonderwall,” which has been his favorite for as long as I can remember.
Last night I laid down in bed with him and told him what it was like to be pregnant with him six years ago, when he made me fat and unwieldy and slow. And how he’d kick the hell out of me if I ate anything spicy or drank orange juice, and how he’d get the hiccups in utero for days at a time, and how weird and amazing it felt when he’d move around. And I told him when he was born, he was the slimiest and most beautiful thing we’d ever seen, and how lucky we were to have him, and how loved he was.
And he started crying.
I asked him why he was crying, and he put those little gangly arms around my neck and his hot cheek on mine and he sobbed, and he finally said, “When I grow up I’m just really gonna miss you a lot.”
Oh, sweet boy. Of six years’ worth of moments and memories – of walking and talking and first steps and first days of school and quiet nights – of all of these, this. This is the one I maybe love and hate the most. Such a double-edged sword, this childlike realization of time passing, this knowledge of love and how fast things go. You can’t have joy without its twin, light without darkness. And I hate that he’s learning this, but I love that he’s starting to feel how precious it can be.
I kissed him and told him in quiet tones how far off that is, that we have years and years and years before he’s grown up; that we have all the time in the world, that by the time he’s grown up he’ll be ready to be out on his own, that if we’ve done our job right he’ll be prepared for things and want to have his own space.
I told him all of these things, but man, I lied. Eighteen is a long way from six; but holding onto that sweet, sorrowful boy, all arms and legs and smelling vaguely of chocolate and dirt –
It doesn’t feel very far off at all, somehow.