My babies coursed from me, small and vulnerable and dependent. I nurtured them—the first, then the second, then the third—and protected them. They outgrew my womb in days. Within months, they morphed into themselves, opening like once-clenched and rolled tree buds of spring now furling to receive every ounce of sun and rain. They asked less of me and more of their own strength and independence. They tried bits of the world on for size.
Striking and distinct—them from me, them from each other. I felt their flesh transform from downed baby-soft to played-hard and raspberried knees, to adolescent oils and clean-shaven. I watched them become, observed their skins filling up with the whole of their unique humanity. They stretched up taller, stouter.
She and she and he stand inches above my most tip-toed height these days. I look up to them, to see their eyes, to notice a defined jawline or the nose that looks like her grandmother’s. Their voices sound like them, but not like them at all, like strangers in my home, glorious visitors from some other place. I careen my head to search for them, one at a time, or even all at the same time.
The roles reversed. I find myself vulnerable in ways, secondary to their stature. I lean into their confidence, their shadows. In myriad ways, I’m fuller and wiser and truer than I know, than they know. But they outgrew me, and now I am small.
*This post was prompted by the prompt small. Language fascinates me. A simple, common word like this is full of meaning, depending, of course, on the context.