Little Boy, Little Boy

Little boy, little boy, I love you,” I say to my son as I nuzzle my nose against the warmth of his slender neck. Then tears stab my eyes and my throat tightens as I realize that at this moment it isn’t just Malachi I love but the sawdusty smell of little boys who play in sunshine and dirt and take baths with dinosaurs. And, just for a moment I want to savor not only this particular little boy but the essence of my two older sons–both men now.

Little boy, little boy, I love the individual you are but I also love the boyness of you–the boyness that is being left behind. I watched two little boys shake off the clothes of childhood and I don’t want to watch one more disappear. I wish you would leave your boy self behind so I could nuzzle my nose in your little boy neck and breathe in sawdust and damp earth when you are all grown up.

But, could your man-self whisper in your little boy ears that if you leave your shoes outside one more time so that they get wet in the rain, there won’t be enough of your little boy self left to make it to adulthood?


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