When my Youngest was born he felt, as babies do, perfectly sized, just right in his tiny powerlessness. I could hold him thoughtlessly with one hand on my shoulder, like a purse. I could place him face up on my lap, and the small depression between my thighs would keep him there, contained without any holding.
And suddenly my Middle – at three and a half – seemed large and unbearably awkward in my lap. He who minutes ago had owned that space was outraged at his displacement. He fought it, insisted on pushing his way onto my thighs. He would try to be small, to curl up. But he spilled over awkwardly, all long thigh bones.
Now that he is is, at fifteen years old, over six feet tall, he still sits on my lap sometimes. I shout, “Middle, you are crushing me!” I wonder, is he still looking for that perfect, long-ago fit or is it now, payback?