Like most families, we have our morning routines. Nothing formal, more like habits that have developed over time. Hugs and kisses, back rubs, whispered jokes. Once the boys are awake, I make myself a coffee and bagel and sit at my desk reading emails.
From my chair I can see them make their way down the stairs. My younger son with his hair mussed and face still puffy with sleep.
My older son follows soon afterward fully dressed in a suit ready to take on the day.
Except for this day. This day he comes halfway down the stairs and stands there, fully dressed in a black suit and tie, but no socks upon his feet. I can’t take my eyes away from his feet and feel my eyes well with tears.
They are the feet of a grown boy. Gone are the tiny feet of babyhood and the chubby feet of a toddler learning to walk. The feet I used to smell after peeling off small, slightly wet socks, intoxicated by the mixture of sweetness and sweat.
These feet are the strong, stable feet of a boy who grew up before my eyes….and yet, somehow I didn’t even see it happen.
I stare at his feet feeling bittersweet. Why didn’t I enjoy it more? That elusive baby stage gone in the blink of an eye. I think of the times he napped on my chest while wishing I could transfer him to his crib so I could get things done. I’d give almost anything to go back in time and have one hour of this boy snuggled on top of me, mouth agape, leaving a small patch of drool upon my shirt.
But I can’t go back, there are no do-overs. Instead I ask him to sit on my lap, this boy who’s all long legs, arms and elbows. I wrap my arms around him and kiss the top of his head, savouring the moment.
All the while staring at his feet.