I watched him through the window, my second son, a little bit more than a year old, on a sunny and mild afternoon in late winter. He was wearing his blue overcoat and red rubber boots. I was watching as he discovered his shadow for the first time. He moved from side to side, then lifted his leg up high and brought it back down, his eyes wide with wonder at the darkened shape on the ground that followed his precise movement as he stomped around. I was careful not to interrupt this moment of discovery, not to let him know I was watching. It was magic, a stolen moment, and I was the thief, hanging on to it all these years.
I watched out that same window, only a moment later, his six foot five and twenty four year old frame towering over his car in the driveway, as he finished loading the last of his things. Then the car was backing out and on the road, and he was on his way to the rest of his life.