A déjà vu moment washed over me as I sat on my front porch, the day of my son's 16th birthday.
Sweet 16 --- that magical day when the world collectively nods and confirms you are, indeed, growing up. Everything that 15 isn't ---16 is. My son’s birthday was one of those early spring days where the sun that had been hidden for too long finally shines with a brightness that seems to apologize for having held back. After I retrieved the mail on this day, the desire to soak in the sun beckoned me to sit for awhile.
Squinting as my eyes adjusted to the brightness, I caught sight of some elementary students on their walk home. The bounce in their steps made me smile with the memory it induced. Perhaps it was due to the special day, but my mind immediately landed on my birthday boy, to the time when he first informed me he could walk home on his own so many years earlier. For awhile after that declaration, I’d again sit on the porch after school waiting for him. Soon I would see him rounding the corner with a determined, confident gait. His young face would light up with an undeniable joy that only little ones allow to come over their faces upon seeing their parents. A few steps closer to home, he would break into a run, ending in a hug that would come close to knocking me down.
Too soon the preciousness of those days slipped away, giving way to after school sports practices, going to friends’ houses, and of course, simply knowing it's not cool to run into the waiting arms of your mother. And soon, a simple test will change the bounce of his step on the sidewalk to the hum of his engine in the driveway.
As I sat on my porch realizing how quickly the years are going, I could feel the pace of the world lapping at my heels. Still, I refuse to speed up. As a matter of fact, I resolve to try to slow down. Because I understand the little one I watched confidently walking home so many years ago, is every day, more and more confidently, walking further and further away.