Small Steps in the Starlight

I’m fairly certain that children double in size on a daily basis. My theory is based upon new shoes that are too tight only an hour out of the box, cuffed pants that suddenly fear high waters, and shirts that decide to stop halfway between elbow and wrist without the common courtesy of listing REO Speedwagon tour dates across the back.

I blame the children. They are growing faster than they should. Granted, it is most likely due to milk hormones, but I also think there might be something to the old adage, time flies when you are getting old as shit and you have young children. Pardon me, I paraphrased.

The point is, my little boys spend far too much of their time being big boys, and frankly, I’m against it.

That’s not to say that I want their growth, be it physical, mental or emotional, to be stunted. I just want them to pace themselves. Where’s the damn fire?

Each day, assuming I bother to stop and smell it, is full of rose-tinted milestones. Sure, it’s also full of a bunch of crap, but the moments are there, and I’m fully aware that it is only a matter of time, very little time, until they are not.

That’s the part about parenting that sucks.

It is also what makes it so fucking glorious that life would pale without it.

They are growing, and they are finding themselves, and we are pushing them, guiding them, holding the net, holding them back, and letting them fail, depending on the mood, on any given day. You know what I’m talking about.

They say that the body grows while it is sleeping. I’m not a scientist. Hell, I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn last night. I’m of no authority to dispute such claims.

But I know what I have seen.

For all this talk of growth, time and the fleetingness of it, there are those wee small hours, aptly named, where darkness and silence work in perfect unison with a late glass of water or the lingering echo of movie monsters, and for a moment, one precious moment when you stir from a dream-soaked sleep, children shrink.

They appear at the foot of the bed, hair disheveled, cartoon-covered pajamas taut with the tininess of their stature, and their voice a whisper soft and wanting. They know nothing but need and trust, and there was never any doubt of whom to turn to.

Maybe it is the abrupt awakening and the adrenaline that accompanies it, or perhaps there is something between the strength of a hairy back and the phases of the moon, but standing there in the still of the night with a bundle of love wrapped tightly around you, they will never feel more light. And nothing will ever be more clear.

You could dance together in small, slow steps somewhere along the hallway, just shadows, breaths, and lullabies. No one would ever know, but for you and fading starlight.

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