I’ve become a cliche.
It was me, standing behind him giving him the constant nudges to grow up, get bigger, start walking, talking, and wearing underwear. It was me who happily boxed away the baby onesies with faint butternut squash-colored stains I could never get out. It was me who was thrilled when he was finally old enough to go to school, to bathe himself, to read a book without me. It was me who said to get rid of the training wheels.
I keep looking at him and wondering where the time went. I can’t remember what he was like at three or two or one. I can barely remember the way he talked at four, only a few phrases. I thought I would always be able to remember, but my memory is like a fractured bowl with a slow leak. It’s only when I go back to retrieve something that I can see how much is lost. I was so foolish.
For so many years, I would look at him—as I was getting after him about leaving something on the floor or being too noisy—and I could see in his eyes that he felt bad, that he should have known better, that he was sad to have disappointed me.
When he looks at me now I wonder if he sees the same thing in my eyes.