It happened, just yesterday.
I went to hug my older son, and his eyes met mine. They met mine, on a level plane.
He sprung back fast, but I sprung back faster. We both realized what this meant.
In early 1999, I'd eat grilled cheese every day. Working, and pregnant, I'd waddle up Church Street in Cambridge to the now-defunct Lee's Sandwich Shop and place my order. Grilled cheese, on white. No fries, no chips, no soup, no salad. Just grilled cheese, straight up, with two napkins, thank you very much.
I liked how it was gooey, but not over the top. How the cheese would ooze, and the bread would yield, and the butter would coat my lips with a thin, glossy sheen. It was a spectacular thing, this sandwich. There was nothing else like it.
That June, when Andrew was born, I knew the secret to his bright eyes and soft skin: he was 40 percent Colin, 40 percent me, and 20 percent grilled cheese.
When Andrew stood before me yesterday, and I realized he'd caught me in height, I saw many things. Time, for one. How it skipped forward, crossing thirteen years like they were puddles, or hopscotch squares on a driveway. I saw such kindness in his eyes, too, such clarity of purpose. But I saw something else as well.
I saw a grilled cheese sandwich.
So I reached for it. Through my past, through the years, through the restless nights and the unsure days, through the move out west and the back to work, through the new school and the soccer games, through the silly toys and the stories and the field trips and the tears, I reached for that goddamn sandwich like my life depended on it. I wanted just one more bite. Just a corner even, to feel that cheese pull away from my mouth.
But it was gone. It just was.
So I went to the stove, and I tried to figure out what was next.