I rarely see this boy.
When I look at him I see a happy, smiling baby.
A toddler who adored his pacifier,
A five year old who thought when people said he had “magic eyes”,
that he could do magic spells by blinking.
A boy who loved to be hugged.
I was taken aback by this moment of clarity.
My children are growing up before my eyes.
My youngest is so tall.
I may fool myself into thinking she is my baby,
but today I saw clearly, she is not.
My eldest is a young woman now,
at twenty one she has the world at her feet.
My middle child is unrecognizable from the child she was,
just two short years ago.
Where has the time gone?
I look outside and see the swing and slide set is quiet.
Yet in my head there are three children swinging and the other three on the slide.
The garden is quiet,
but I still hear the shouts and laughter of the six children,
who wore out the grass in the summer.
Inside my house no longer has a playroom.
Barney dvds do not play on a loop.
Tiny cars and dolls are not to be found on every square inch of the floor.
I would not say it is tidy,
but it no longer has the look of a house filled with young children.
For a moment I felt bereft.
Are the best days of my life over?
I longed for the noise and the mess.
The smell of a newborn,
the opportunity to go back.
I have served my time for twenty years,
now I’m free!