This morning he was up before I turned on the coffeemaker. I heard his heavy footfalls move across from his bedroom, down the hall, to the bathroom. Our house is so small, I even heard what he was doing in there. He usually heads back to his room, but today he thudded down the back stairs into the kitchen.

“Hi Mama,” he said and pulled me into a hug. He is about an inch from being taller than me, not that it’s hard as I’m only 5’3″. I hadn’t noticed this though, until our embrace.

“Do you think I’d like coffee?” I offer him my cup, he sips but grimaces. “I don’t know how you do it, Kim,” he says smiling.

He’s taken to calling me by my first name lately. It doesn’t bother me a bit. In some ways I feel like it’s more intimate, everyone else I know is called Mom.

It’s nice to see this boy this way on this morning. I savor it like that last bite of Creme Brulee when a bit of burnt sugar is still available to add crunch to the creamy smooth pudding. This freckled boy who is bigger than I imagined he’d be, but still the baby I remember.

At 11, he’s also mostly mine, but moving toward the threshold of full on adolescence when I will need to remember this time in case I want to throttle him one day. It is sometimes hard to remember which it is we are dealing with––the typical developmental phase of his childhood or one of his personality traits that ebbs and flows but stays pretty consistent.

This sweetness that comes when no one else is watching is my boy, of that I am sure. Let’s hope the irrational insanity that will surely pop up when I remind him he needs to walk home from school today because I don’t have time to pick him up, is just a developmental phase.