Tiny things. A million of them a day, so small I probably miss most of them. The little telltales that tell me the tale where my sons grow up.

Today it was walking across the parking lot and realizing that I wasn’t holding their hands.  My sister in law is from Panama and when she crosses the street with her little ones she says, “Contacto.” Contact.  I have always loved this and adopted it completely. “Contacto.” It isn’t safe. I will protect you. We will go together. Hold my hand. Follow me. I will hold tight.

But now, we are hands-free. We cross. They know when to go.  It is only I who hesitates, hanging back for just a step, enough to watch them ahead of me, braving the world.  Their backpacks and earnestness and sincerity are heartbreakingly sweet. I hope they don’t get crushed. They don’t.

Other little flickers come and go. The dinner is devoured by the once picky eater. The feet are too big for everything. The temper tantrum gives way to—reason. Can it be? Just as I brace myself for the big fit, he says, “Oh, well. I really wanted to do that.” And he wanders off. No tears. For either of us.

Sometimes I see someone who looks like my boys when they are grown. I stare. Too long. I think the poor young man is worried that I am hitting on him. But I am not. This cougar is thinking only of her cubs. I want to hug him and tell him to call me. But not in the way he thinks.  I want to tell him to please, please stop growing.

Other days it is in my boys themselves. The look crosses their faces and the light hits just right and I see high school. College. Men. Daddies. And I hope for a second that their kids give them hell. Then the flicker fades, and he dissolves back into a boy. And he gives me hell. And I am glad.

It isn’t always. The fits still hit. The boys still can run out in the road, unaware. But the Contacto is not all the time. Now we bounce off of each other on our mutual paths. We connect but it is through silver threads of the day, small, shinny and barely there. But oh-so strong. Those threads I weave into something beautiful and warm. Something to hold me when I no longer hold them.

Photos:  Above Left:  Day One.  Photo by Chad Harder;  Above Right:  Day 3,285 – 9th Birthday.

Like this blog?  Check out more from one of Missoula’s FAVORITE Mamas About Town, Elke Govertsen:  Summer Feet,  Norman Rockwell’s Got Nothing on Missoula, or  Anywhere but Missoula, MT.  And check out Missoula Children and Nature Network and Active Moms Missoula.

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Bio: Elke Govertsen is the publisher of Mamalode which is a magazine and website for area moms. When not juggling her family, business, and the laundry (disclosure – there is no laundry being done whatsoever), Elke tries to eek out time to write, do yoga, and read like a fiend.