You applaud all his advancements
peeing in a toilet.
Not rushing him exactly
but there is a sense early on in a child’s life
of many gates that must be opened
and you are the guide.
You worry sometimes
that you will falter in this role
forget to teach him important things
like tying his shoelaces
spelling his name
the concept of before
Then you remember the little girl in India
who asked you how old your grandmother was
and when you said she was ninety-two
her eyes grew very wide
and she whispered
she must be so tall.
You understand that this worrying business
is a new skin you wear
and it will only thicken with time
so that you won’t be able to remember the lightness
of having only your own flesh to preserve.
Now you fret for what he might not know
but soon you will reach the edge of his innocence
and you will be surprised by how desperately
you will want to lock the gates
stay in that gentle patch of life
when he still folds his warm hand into yours
mystified by how much world there is
and sure you have all the answers.