Elevators hold us still sometimes – in each others’ inescapable presence.
So this late afternoon, as Lysle and I return from a trip to Manhattan to buy the boy some pants that cover the ankles again, those ankles permanently exposed to all sorts of weather in the high water pants that, in Lysle’s case, are less a sign of fashion sense than of spurting growth, I stand in the elevator awed by Lysle’s new height.
And as we ride our six stories upward I can’t help but think: This is what Oma didn’t want to miss. To see you grow, inch by inch and thought by thought.
That’s why her last words to you as a seven-year-old were: Stay the way you are!
It hurt her so much to let you go on growing without her there to admire your growth.
She also meant: Stay true to your core, the steady core I’ve seen unfold from newborn to almost eight-year-old. Don’t change all the ways you are you and wonderful!
I can almost see her there with him in the wood-panelled elevator, his head now reaching past her shoulder as he comfortably leans into her. And she doesn’t have to say what everyone says after two years of not having seen a child – “Oh, how you’ve grown!” – because she’s in those inches and in those thoughts.