When did he start taking up so much space in the doorway? His head so close to the top? And when exactly did the soft curves of a little boy body give way to the harder edges of the young man he’s become?
When did she lose those chubby cheeks, the ones that little girls have, round and full? When did her cheek bones become so defined, chiseling out the face of a young lady from beneath the fleshy softness of toddlerhood?
When did he put away his dinosaurs for Legos, and Legos for Nerf guns, and Nerf guns for video games? And how much longer before he puts it all away for a girl?
When did she stop pretending to take my order in her play kitchen and start actually creating things in mine? And when did her dress up bin full of costumes and princess gowns get passed over for hand-me-downs from cool older girls and real nail polish and make up replace the plastic look alikes?
When did they become so witty and capable and articulate? I can’t find the moment. I can’t pinpoint a “before” and “after.” It occurred in steady breaths, in moments doing the ordinary, over another dinner, while one more load of laundry dried. It happened over many Tuesdays and random afternoons.
And when does it stop? The excitement of watching them grow those wings; the ache of seeing them use them? When do their lives become more theirs than mine, and how do I prepare my heart for that?
When does “this time” become the last time, and will I even know it? Will it arrive with an announcement or, like his growing body and her disappearing fleshy cheeks, will it just happen? No defining moment- just something extraordinary in the middle of the ordinary.