The front door slams and I recognize his footsteps on the wood floors.

"Mom! I'm hungry!"

And every inch of me freezes; I'm suspended in front of the refrigerator, door wide open and vegetables for dinner in hand.

And oh Lord, my Lord, when will it stop? When will they stop getting bigger? His growing pains have ceased for the time being, but mine...oh mine. I begin to wonder if this ache is permanent.

Malachi heard his brother as well and suddenly he's running to the front door.

Despite his mortification on the subject, Malachi is not allowed to play in the front yard by himself and was therefor pouting with me in the kitchen while Zeke raced back and forth on his bicycle. Even watching him thru the window is too painful.

I don't blame him. He always goes too fast- every time I glance out the window my breath catches in my throat and my arms lift as if to keep him from falling.

"Did you put your bike away?" I ask, as he settles himself heavily into a kitchen chair, little brother loyally following.

And I pretend to not notice the way he rolls his eyes as he answers, "It's in the garage, mom."

I pretend not to see his scabbed knees either, the tennis shoes suddenly huge in size 10, the way he's outgrowing his t-shirt (yet again), they way he needs another haircut, they way he relaxes his thin frame against the back of the chair.

And I chop zucchini, if only to keep my hands busy. If only to keep from running over and picking him up and rocking him like the baby that he isn't anymore. I can still pick him up, after all. Who knows how much longer until I cant?

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