There he is. Standing on first base. A boy who needs me less.
I think back to 10 years ago. Our very first connection was a flutter I felt inside. The day he kicked and I felt it. My dream was becoming a reality. A feeling I can’t describe. But I knew I was able to keep him safe. He needed me. All of me.
After he was born, he needed me a little less. There were extra hands to help. Taking turns holding him. I felt the distance. Even though he seemed to feel the safest in his mama’s arms, it wasn’t quite the same as him being all mine.
Toddlerhood meant even more distance. Testing his limits. Testing his mama’s limits. Seeing how far he could go. Running away and going stiff as a board when he was caught. There was gaining independence and strong emotions. But he always ran to his mama to kiss his scraped knees.
He now needs me less.
The school bus picks him up for a full seven hours without me. I can’t know who he is with or what he is doing like I used to. The shy little smiles up to me from the baseball field are now few and far between. The searching for my face in the crowd after he catches a ball seems way off in the distance now.
And there he is. Standing on first. On his own. Not needing my reassuring smile. A distance from me.
Maybe it’s not that he needs me less, but he needs me differently. To be there even when he is too old to hold my hand. To cheer and encourage him even when it embarrasses him a little. To already know his mama is so proud of him without even needing to look up for me.
He knows—even if it’s in his selective hearing kind of way—that it doesn’t matter the distance between us as the years go by, I am always here. Even when he can’t see me. Even when he wants the distance. Even when he is in a group of friends or interviewing for his first job.
I was his very first home. He can always come home to me. And I will make sure I always feel like home to him.