9 years old and he has just recently started insisting on getting himself prepared for the school day. It is allowed. Growth is natural, it cannot be stunted. He is much slower on his own but won’t take kindly to any assistance. “I’m not a baby anymore,” he will say to her. She used to sit by him as he went about his morning routine, in the hope that dictating instructions would help him pick up the pace, but even that he objected to. “I can do it on my own mum.” Now she makes sure he is up, then heads downstairs to wait for him, preparing breakfast. Today she’s been anxiously looking outside at the sky, wondering if the weather really was dreadful or if the darkness of dawn was simply giving everything a tint of dreary.
Finally, he came downstairs then followed the second part of their routine. Having breakfast, packing break and lunch boxes, searching for matching socks and sports kits from the freshly done laundry pile that was yet to be ironed.
“Won’t you wear your fleece today?”
“No mum, I don’t want to. It isn’t raining.”
She continued to keep an eye on the elements outside, not yet sure where the weather stood.
At the very last moment, she decided better safe than sorry and put her foot down.
“It’s going to be cold baby, go put on your fleece.”
“But mum, it’s not even raining! I bet the sun will come out during the day and then I will have to carry that thing around. I don’t want to wear it.”
Compromise, she sent her 9 year old back upstairs and had him put on a thermal vest underneath his uniform instead.
17 years old and their school morning routine is much the same. No longer a little boy, he is now a grown man. He is now a grown *man-child. Twice her height and all of her girth in muscle. Still every ounce her baby. She makes sure he is up and then heads downstairs to get a start on breakfast. He will get dressed then go downstairs, have breakfast, look for missing socks, pack some snacks…
She’s peering outside. The sky looks undecided.
It is one of those mornings where the darkness of dawn could once again be exaggerating the dreadfulness of the weather. She waits until the last possible moment to be completely sure. When it comes, the moment, and she finds she is still not sure, she makes him go back and wear a thermal vest underneath his uniform.
A little later in the day, as she drives to work, she peers at the sky and knows she made the right call. The clouds look like damp wool.
Her whole being is warmed up by the knowledge that her baby has an extra layer of warmth as he goes about his day.