This morning, while waiting for the train, a father and his toddler son sat at the stop with the rest of us commuters. The little boy, with long, curly blond locks, walked around, curious by his surroundings. I sat down to write some notes, caught up in my own worlds. Minutes later, a sickening thud grabbed my attention and my stomach dropped. I knew that sound.
A quick look around and I saw that the boy had fallen and smacked his head on the sidewalk. It looked like he'd slipped off one of the waiting platforms, two feet up from the sidewalk. The boy began crying, but I'll tell you, a fall like that could cause any many to bawl his eyes out. The father rushed to his child and hugged him tightly, soothing and rubbing the back of the boy's head. The combination of the boy's head hitting the cement, his tears, and the silence that fell over everyone around me made my eyes well with tears.
No matter how hard we try, no matter how much love we provide, there is only so much protection we can give them. Each night, before she can go to sleep, Sophie makes me tell her that there are no bad men and that no one is going to get her. God, how I wish I could be sure of that. I am a bundle of nerves worrying about her safety. They are going to grow and take their spills. I pray that I'm there to hold them and hug them and rub the backs of their heads to make the pain go away. The truth is that most of the time, as parents, all we can do is hope for the best.
School begins tomorrow and I am saddened. This surprises me because just two days ago I was seemingly okay with the kids growing up and heading off to e new year of learning. Then it began to sink in. Each year they get older is a year less that they are children. It is a year less that they will need me to say there aren't any bad men out there and a year less that Sophie will startle me from behind with a sudden hug or a year less that Jake will call me in from the back of the house just to tell me he loves me and it it is a year less that they will be our little boy and little girl. They're growing up too damn fast.
I look around the house and there are pictures and drawing and photos from the past. Constant reminders of where we have come from. I don't want Sophie and Jake to remain children forever, but I just wish the clock would slow a little.