He's going on a fishing trip with his aunt and uncle. He needs to pack. I'm surprised when he outright refuses to let me do this for him. He's not a little boy anymore. He's twelve. There are still bits of boy in him even as the man struggles to find his voice, his way in the world. I worry for him, this brother in a house chock full of sisters. I want to leave the space for the boy to move around, express himself, for the man to grow.
I feel this space keenly at Mass, as he vests in garments reserved for men, sits apart from us, in the company of men and boys. I miss him, but I am grateful that he has that sacred space. I pray each week that he hears the voice of his heavenly Father, of his brother, Our Lord Jesus and the his heart be stirred by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I pray he holds fast to the grace God has for him at every moment.
He comes in my room. He has a question about what to pack. I answer. He turns and walks away. I look just in time to see him framed in the doorway of his room. I catch my breath as I suddenly realize how tall he's gotten. His shoulders are broader. The silhouette of a young man. My son, not a little boy any longer. My throat tightens as I miss the little boy. Even as I smile, looking forward to getting to know this young man.