The Ritual

Angie Warren

We have this ritual, he and I. It's quite new, as in, only in recent months do we partake. Usually, the coming together happens at the end of the day, as teeth are being brushed and children are sliding into PJs.

Side by side we stand, my first born and I, in the bathroom, then backs to one another. My husband judges, each time, his face breaking into a grin that tells me "Honey, he's almost got you.". I puff out my chest and stand as strait as can be.

"It's really close this time, babe. He's almost there." I hear.

In reality, I want to belt NO! I want to say that it can't be, this one who made me a mother, it's impossible. Please no, please, please no. But alas, it's true, he's almost had me for some time.

Today, it happened. On an average day in December, at the edge of Christmas, our windows moist with a bitter cold. My wee boy, who is no longer such, has passed me up. He's taller than me. Not only is he taller, but he's mighty proud of it.

What was once a toddling two-year old, bucket of cars by his side every second of the day, is now a lanky twelve-year old. This young man who I'll soon look up at, has traded in those matchbox friends for a phone and chapter books and a deep interest in marine biology.

He's every bit the little boy so long ago I held, and yet he's bursting with new and exciting things, a deeper voice, and the ability to make you laugh so hard it hurts.

Though I'm not ready to accept the outcome of the ritual, (perhaps my bun wasn't high enough?), I realize it's just a matter of time. I'll keep challenging him in the bathroom, but he'll keep winning, from here on out.

And, that's just fine with me. Mothering the toddler, and mothering the young man - I count these as life's greatest blessings. To wake each day to his bear hugs, taller than me, or not.


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