As the days passed, you found that it was very hard for you to believe that Matthew had turned from a tiny baby into a full grown man in such a short amount of time. Only a few years had gone by, and he had gone from being able to fit comfortably in your arms to exceeding you in height by just a few centimeters. You often lay in bed wide awake at night, thinking about how your life had changed so quickly and what was going to happen to you and Matthew within the next few months. You remembered how miserable and stressful your life had been before you found him in the woods. Back then, he seemed so small, so helpless and frail. You remembered how he slept with you, how you fed him, took care of him like a real mother. You had felt happiness, as if your life actually had a purpose that didn't involve staying up every night finishing work for your boss. But now, now that Matthew was fully grown and able to take care of himself, it seemed that he was a million miles away, even though he still lived in the same house as you.
One morning, you blearily opened your eyes and turned your head to the side so that you were able to get a good enough view of what was outside your window. You groaned and covered your eyes with your hand in disgust when you realized that it was raining. You usually didn't mind the rain, but you woke up in a bad mood that morning due to the fact that you once again stayed up late doing paperwork and had tossed and turned for most of the night, too restless to sleep.
You sighed as you propped yourself up on your elbows and climbed out of bed, covering your mouth with your hand and yawning as you clumsily walked out of your room and proceeded towards the bathroom. After you brushed your teeth and washed your face, you rested your palms on the edge of the sink and shakily lifted your head so that you were staring at your reflection in the mirror above your sink.
As soon as you examined your face, you mentally shook your head in disapproval. Your hair was a lot messier than usual, you had dark bags under your eyes, which were bleak with exhaustion and depression, and your face looked unusually pale. You haven't had this kind of appearance since before you found Matthew in the woods, and it worried you.
You shook your head when you decided that you wouldn't let your current appearance bother you. Instead, you stepped out of the bathroom and proceeded towards the kitchen, your hands dropped to your sides as you stared down at your feet.
When you arrived at the entrance to the kitchen, you paused, putting one hand against the wall and looking up in confusion when you heard the presence of someone else in the room. Instantly, your eyes widened and your mouth opened just the slightest amount in surprise when you saw Matthew standing at the counter making breakfast containing scrambled eggs, a bagel with cream cheese, and of course, a stack of pancakes topped with maple syrup. Since when did Matthew eat this much for breakfast?
"Um…" you said quietly as you continued to stare, causing Matthew to pause before he lifted his gaze to meet yours and smiled.
"Good morning, mom," he said before he turned his attention back to making his breakfast.
"Uh…" Your voice caught in your throat and you put your clenched fist to your mouth and coughed before you removed it and slowly replied, "Good morning…Matthew."
You removed your hand from the wall and slowly approached Matthew until you were standing directly next to him. While he kept his concentrated gaze fixed on making his breakfast, you looked up so that you were looking at the top of his head. You frowned, thinking about how much he had grown in such a short amount of time.
You dropped your gaze back down and looked around the kitchen briefly before you frowned. "Where's Mr. Kumajiro?"
"He's in my room," Matthew replied. "I gave him his breakfast a few minutes ago."
"Oh," you said before you lowered your gaze down to the breakfast he was making. "I never knew you ate such a big breakfast, Matthew."
Matthew looked up at you and frowned. "This isn't for me. I wanted to make breakfast for you since you woke up a lot later than usual and I didn't want you to have to deal with making food for yourself."
For…me…? You suddenly found that it was nearly impossible for you to speak, but somehow you managed to choke out, "R-Really?"
Matthew nodded, looking at you as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Yeah."
You cleared your throat before you looked up to meet his gaze, a slight hint of nervousness reflecting in your eyes. "Matthew, you know I could've just made breakfast on my own. You really didn't have to…"
"I just thought it would've been easier. For you, you know," Matthew replied simply before he resumed making your breakfast. "And by the way, mom," he added, not even bothering to lift his gaze to meet yours, "you're still in your pajamas."
"W-Wha…?" You looked at him in confusion before you looked down at your pajamas, your face reddening when you realized that you hadn't even bothered to change into appropriate clothes. "Oh, um…I guess I'll…go change," you muttered before you hastily left the kitchen.
As soon as you were in the hallway that led to your bedroom, you pressed your back against the wall and sighed before you ran a hand through your hair and looked down at the ground. It felt like Matthew was becoming more and more independent with each passing day. It was enough that he was able to handle making breakfast for both him and Kumajiro, but now he was making breakfast for you as well. You groaned before you removed your hand from your hair and closed your eyes, lifting your head and pressing it against the wall.
You just hoped that the moment you were dreading more than anything would never arrive.
A few days had passed since you had woken up to Matthew making breakfast for you, and your life seemed to slowly sink back into stress, just like it had before you met him in the woods. The joy you felt when you had been taking care of baby Matthew had passed entirely and you found yourself spending more time on paperwork than him.
One day, when you were sitting on your bed, writing something for your boss, you heard the creak of your door as it slowly opened and footsteps enter your room. You paused from writing and lifted your head so that you were looking at Matthew, who stood in front of the entrance to your bedroom.
"Matthew?" you asked in confusion. "Did you need something?"
Matthew nodded before he rubbed the back of his neck with his hand and shifted in place as if he was uncomfortable. He drifted his gaze off to one side and focused it on your dresser. "Um, yeah, mom. I need to talk to you about something."
Your chest tightened in alarm and you dropped your pen, listening as it hit the ground with a soft thunk. "Wh…What is it?"
Matthew removed his hand from his neck and dropped it back to his side before he shifted his gaze to meet yours. Your heart pounded even faster when you noticed that there was a trace of sadness in his eyes. "Can…Can we talk about this in my room?"
"Um…sure," you said numbly before you shakily stood up from your spot on your bed and proceeded out the door, Matthew following close behind you.
The two of you paused at the door to Matthew's room, and he took a step forward so that he grasped the doorknob and opened the door, revealing Mr. Kumajiro washing himself on top of Matthew's bed.
You took a step inside and looked around you, thinking about the few times that you had ever been inside Matthew's room. It wasn't really necessary for you to go in there, since he was able to manage his room just fine without your assistance.
Slowly, you made your way over to his bed and sat down, shifting in place so that you were able to stroke Mr. Kumajiro's fur as he continued to wash himself.
You felt the covers sag as Matthew sat down next to you. You removed your hand from Kuma's fur and looked up so that you were able to meet Matthew's gaze. After a few seconds of silence that seemed to stretch forever, he sighed before he closed his eyes.
"Mom, I need to tell you something important," he said quietly, his voice just on the edge of trembling.
Your eyes slowly widened and your chest tightened, your heart pounding at an increasingly fast rate. "Y-Yes?" you asked, your voice coming out as a pathetic squeak. You hoped over and over that he wasn't going to say the thing that you had been dreading all these years.
Matthew slowly opened his eyes and his saddened gaze once again met your nervous one. "Mom, I…"
"What is it, Matthew?" you asked as you placed a hand on his lap. You wanted to do all you can to show him that you still wanted him to be with you.
Another long stretch of silence passed before Matthew drifted his gaze down to his lap and muttered something that you were unable to detect.
"Hmm?" you asked as you leaned closer so that your nose was only inches away from his.
Matthew lifted his head and scooted slightly away from you so that you were able to gaze at him properly. The sadness that was in his gaze just moments ago was replaced with determination as he said, "Mom, I want to be independent."