Little Ben. My little guy.
I took him to Walmart tonight and we spent almost a half hour in the deodorant aisle. When I first caught a wiff of him after school I checked myself. I hadn't thought my day of subbing had been strenuous enough to cause a stench like that, but stranger things have happened. It wasn't me though.
It was my little guy.
Of course, it was all very embarrassing to him. He's a sensitive little soul. I hope by the time he reads this he's okay with the knowledge that men are stinky. I hope he can get a glimpse of how much I love watching him grow up, but oh... I long for him to stay little.
The pre-puberty talk we had about stinky armpits and hair that will follow behind in the not-too-distant future came way WAY too fast for me. Didn't he just put his first lost tooth under his pillow yesterday? I only put him on the school bus for the first time a year or so ago. We took him to his very first movie with a Lightning McQueen clutched in one hand, and a Doc in the other just a week or so ago... When did he grow up enough to need deodorant???
Back at Walmart I fought tears watching him cautiously and thoughtfully sniff the Speed Stick and the Old Spice, and then finally settle on Adidas Pure Game. I thought of him all little and a master of silly walks making us laugh in Mom and Dad's kitchen. I thought of him learning to ride his bike and me letting go of his seat when he finally got it figured out and peddled off down the street. And then I thought of myself just six short years from now, taking him to get a license TO DRIVE A CAR. A CAR!!! In six years he'll be able to drive an actual car. On actual roads. With actual other people driving and walking around. I just... I can't... I mean... ????
He's just a little guy! HE CAN'T DRIVE A CAR!!!!!
I know, I know, it's still a ways away, but the thing is... I know it's not really. This first ten years with Ben have flown by, and I know it won't slow down. Each little milestone is a step to adulthood. And it's a step away from me. I know it is.
For now though, I get to cuddle my guy close, and kiss him goodnight knowing he's sleeping only a room away. And he still needs me to help him with homework, and buy his underwear, and pack his lunches, and scold him when he doesn't eat anything in his lunch but the dessert, and even to make sure he smells nice. I'm so glad, I'm so grateful, I get to be Ben's mom and experience every big and little milestone with him. I'm the luckiest. They all make me feel like the luckiest.
And Ben? If you're reading this, please hear me say that no matter how many steps you take away from me, from needing me to take care of you, you will never EVER take even one step out of my love. Not one.
I love you... It's okay. Everybody smells sometimes.
Don't let yourself B.O. Everybody smells. Sometimes the smell is really strong. Now it's your time to roll it on. So roll on. Roll on. Rooooooooll on. Roll on.
Everybody smells. Sometimes.