Driving down the street I almost pass by the boys on their bikes without a second glance. But I notice them – goofing off, treats from the store in one hand, pretending to run each other off the sidewalk. Their tanned skin and bruised legs tell stories about their adventurous summer.
I realize I have been sitting at the stop sign moments too long – it has hit me. These almost adolescent boys enjoying a long summer day of freedom – they are boys in my sons grade at school. He started Junior Kindergarten with all of them – when they were all on equal footing. Now they are worlds apart from my son in so many ways. My heart hurts for the things my son cannot do and tears threaten to spill down my face.
I glance at my son who is sitting in the passenger seat beside me. Has he noticed them? Does he long to be free like they are? He gives a little wave to them as we drive by. There is my answer and I find myself wishing in some ways that he was less aware, for his sake. As we leave them behind he leans his head against the glass and closes his eyes.
He is all too aware of the differences, his longing is strong even if it is not voiced. I hold back tears but I reach over and take his hand. He squeezes it and I wish I knew what to say to make it better. But I know nothing I say would take away the pain of his longing and his feelings of loss. There are no words.