I could hear their voices as they were playing video games.
Upstairs and around the corner in the room my youngest had dubbed “the bingo room” when we moved in a few years ago because “bonus room” made no sense to him.
That child has grown a whole head taller in the past year and rolls his eyes when we say “bingo room.”
They’re all growing so fast.
But I wasn’t prepared for what I heard floating down the stairs.
I paused to listen, differentiating their voices, who was saying what.
And for a moment, I wondered if I’d forgotten that a friend of theirs was over, if my memory really was that bad or if one of the neighbor kids had gone upstairs with them while I’d briefly been in the other room.
Because I heard this voice I didn’t quite recognize.
Familiar enough that I knew it belonged in this house, that there wasn’t some stranger up there.
But still, not immediately easy to place.
As I listened, I realized that voice not only belonged here, but belonged to one of my children.
To the oldest, who somehow sounded ever so much more grown up all of a sudden.
Not the same voice I’ve heard from him since he started spouting out whole diatribes at the age of 18 months.
Not the voice of the little kid who was always so eager to share his opinion and excitement.
But a deeper voice of a boy who can no longer be called a little kid, but a young man.
It must have been happening slowly, this change.
Day to day, it’s hard to notice the changes because he’s not so different today than what he was yesterday or the day before that.
But when the days all slide together and I’m comparing him to the child he was six months ago, a year ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago…
He’s not the same.
I wouldn’t want him to be, but it’s still bittersweet, accepting it.