The leaves cover our entire path now and he notices. His hands look more like those of a boy than a toddler and I notice. He walks over to look at the rings in a tree stump and I count the years until he goes to Kindergarten. He asks about a noise he hears in the woods and I tell him the answer will cost him a kiss of the 2 year old variety, sloppy and delicious. “Will you hold my hand over the bridge?” I say, extending mine down. “No Mommy I’m a big boy” he says with a smile. I agree, drawing it back with the kind of sweet sadness only a Mother can know. We get over it and he runs ahead calling over his shoulder “See? We made it Mommy!” And I know that I’m watching him slowly shed his babyhood all over that leafy trail in the woods over the bridge by the pond. I make sure to breathe in the pieces. Because the pieces are the memories that make up your soul: the sound of little feet over leaves and the smell of Fall in their hair. Those are the things. Those are the things that will never change.