“You know, mama,” my six year old said, walking to the fridge, “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”
I stared at him in bemusement. “Does he?”
He nodded, “Yep. And you know I’m a man.”
I studied his red hair that refuses to lay flat, his bright blue eyes, his gapped tooth smile, his smooth cheeks. “I didn’t know that. I thought you were a little boy.”
He shook his had at my silliness as he helped himself to water from the fridge. “You just think I’m a little boy. I’m really a man.”
I watched him drink his water, noting that his head comes nearly to my shoulders. At six, he still has a long ways to grow and beyond a doubt he’ll tower over me in a few years. His father is over six feet tall. His great uncles and cousins stretch five or six inches taller than that. His great grandfather was a giant of a man at 6’4″ and 250 or more pounds. I can almost see him in his cousin Kyle. Pictures of Joseph and Kyle at the same age look as if they’re siblings rather than second cousins.
And I wonder…
Will I one day look at Joseph and instead of seeing the man, still see the boy? Will I remember him as the laughing little smart mouth who makes me giggle at his wit when his chin grows whiskers? What do mother remember of their sons and daughters when those children are adults? How odd must it feel.
Already I can’t remember him as a baby. His toddler years are fading. I’m shocked when I see pictures, wondering how it went so fast.
So how much odder will it feel when he really is a man?
I hugged him tight as he walked away from the fridge. Because a mama’s got to do what a mama’s got to do.