Carrying my not-so-little boys

Our sons are too big to carry. I know it. They know it. Anyone who sees their gangly legs dangling from my hips knows it.
But, even though they are 6 and 8—and approaching 7 and 9—I can’t seem to stop.
The truth is someday very soon I won’t be able to lift them. I can barely do it now.
Still, I can still manage it when someone is hurt or upset.
And when they were getting tired of walking in the heat this weekend, and one of them showed me a blister on his heel, I managed a few piggyback rides. And I noticed something.
When a child is on your back, the world is entirely new—to you and to him.

He sees from a new height. He also has so much to say—about everything. So he runs through topic after topic, discussing everything that’s on his mind. He talks about games and characters and family and what he wants to do today and tomorrow…on and on and on.
I treasure those conversations.
Piggyback riding reminds me of when I have our sons in the back seat of the car. Somehow everything comes up in the car, maybe because we aren’t looking at one another, and because the world is slipping past us.
The conversations as we walk might be even more wonderful. After all, walking together we aren’t getting anywhere fast. And the child on my back knows I’m not worried about red lights or cars cutting me off; he has my full attention.
He feels so special to be on my back and have my ear—inches away from his face.
Besides, with an extra 50-plus pounds on my back, I’m doing much less talking and much more listening.
The floor is his.
So I walk and he rides.
I listen and he talks.
And instead of wondering how much longer I’ll be able to do this for and with him, I just feel grateful for the now.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.