and the boy…

We approached our swings as we do every weekday morning after dropping off Kevin at his train stop.  Our micro morning community.

M, the grandmotherly case worker of D, the bespectacled young man with cognitive disabilities, who always swings with us.  I hadn’t seen them last week so I told M, “I was worried.  We have NEVER not seen you swinging next to us.  It’s pretty amazing how people make an impact in your day.  We see each other almost every day so I had to find out if everyone was okay.  So great to see you guys again.”

M:  “And you?  You’re missing one today.”

“Yes, he’s grown up.” (Throat closing up a bit.  Suddenly parched.)

M:  “They do that, you know.”

“Yup.  He suddenly doesn’t want to stay back here with the family in the mornings.  He now goes on campus early to meet his friends.”

I felt my heart swell up and my eyes water.

Of course I was happy to see Micah growing up.  As he should.  What a blessing we never take for granted, especially after wondering what his transition from NYC to LA might be like.  But just like so many parenting moments, a rush of many emotions at once.

He now jumps out of our minivan each morning to go cross the street by himself, with one of the crossing guards on duty.  He yells, “Thank you!” after they’ve escorted him across.

Ellis, Olive, and I watch from the other side of the street, on top of a grassy mound, wet with morning dew, before these younger two go claim their swings.

I can barely make out Micah laughing and running around with classmates.  I can’t help but think of “The Giving Tree,” the book that gutted me as a child and then annoyed me as a mom because the darn boy should have reciprocated with some seeds or some water,  ANY little token of appreciation.

And the boy had grown up.  The mom was happy.  (But the mom had no shame so she watched him for a beat longer from her Honda Odyssey like paparazzo before driving off and before she could embarrass him.)

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