It's a slightly gloomy day outside, cloudy but not rainy, so Cole and I are sitting at his table in front of the fire while Chase plays happily on the floor. Lately, we've started working on some fun themed worksheets as part of our "special time" together - Cole soaks up the extra attention and I love having just a tiny bit of "guided schoolwork" for him to practice his reading.
It's quiet and peaceful, the only sound Chase's babbling and Cole's scissors and intermittent chatter. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Cole throws down his scissors and runs to the door - it's our sweet neighbor girl. "Can Cole come out and play?" she asks.
Before I can even ask Cole if he wants to go, he's throwing on his jacket and zooming out the door. "Bye Mom!" he yells as he takes her hand so they can run together.
Not even a backward glance.
I close the door and survey the room, the empty chair with the half-completed schoolwork. It suddenly feels very quiet and empty, Cole's enormous whirlwind energy sucked out of the house. I feel slightly bereft.
It's an amazing thing, watching my shy little boy blossom into a friendly, outgoing little person. I love watching him play and interact with his friends. I love his independence.
But it does break my heart a little - just a little - to be so replaced. To see such obvious signs of his growing up, needing me just a little less. To see a glimpse of the future. I know it's what we're working toward, the eventual goal of rendering myself obsolete is what means I've succeeded as a parent. But...just not quite yet. Just one more year of my little boy.
I turned around after closing the door, ready to sigh and move on, when Chase stops what he's doing to look at me with his bright eyes and happy smile. I grin back at him, he beams and crawls top speed, straight to my legs to pull himself up. I swoop him up and together we go to the kitchen to start dinner.