I found this letter/ode I had written to my son in a bunch of old papers I was going through to recycle today. I wrote it when he was twelve, and pulling further and further away from me – right on schedule! But just because biology dictates a thing so, doesn’t mean it wasn’t terrible for me…
Evolution Of A Boy
When you were born I held you close, rocked you, walked you back and forth while you screamed with colic – or was it protest at being out in this cold, drafty world from the temperature controlled, fluid womb?
You stayed in a crib until you were two and a half and began crying to me of your needs in the night, or in the morning, coaxing me with “Up, Mommy? Up, Mommy – peas. Peas, Mommy?” How could I ignore that? You asked so politely, so pleadingly.
As a toddler, and ever since you were born, I read to you day and night. It became the bedtime routine: books and a back rub until you fell asleep. Often you would play with my ear – a throw back from your nursing days – a comfort habit that never bothered me. Whoever held you until you were four or five would have their ear manipulated by you.
Nighttime was our time. It was sometimes the only peace in the day. I was really present most of the time for you then, and we both knew it wouldn’t be a struggle of wills; it was a time any outside observer wouldn’t question my parenting skills.
That nighttime routine when you wanted me to lay down with you after reading and rubbing your back until you fell asleep – or nearly – lasted until you were eight or nine. I would sing Mockingbird – replacing Papa with Mama, of course – and Lily Of The Valley, three or four times each, and sometimes you would sing along. Then we would always play the ‘I love you more than’ game. “More than chocolate cream pie with ice cream and marshmallows, and a ton of whipped cream” – or whatever we would dream up. A phrase we had read: “I love you to the moon and back”, began a long tradition of sometimes jokingly arguing over who loved the other more – “I love you the most – eternity, infinity!”
The mornings nearly always had me picking you up and carrying you into the kitchen for breakfast until you were about seven years old. It seemed to help you wake up just that little bit more.
Sometimes you would jump up into my arms for a hug and you did that until you got too heavy for me to grab you up into a hug like that.
Now you’re twelve. You are on that precipice between knowing you are not a dependent child to knowing you are not quite grown-up either. It can be confusing, frustrating, and scary – but exciting too.
You are, at times and often, so much more than you think you are. You have so much to offer this suffering world. She needs boys and men who care, as you do. Societies may seem indifferent or hostile to boys and men who care, but that is because societies are not grown-up either. They don’t know how to accept the whole boy or the whole man – but they are learning. Just as I am learning to let go – but I have built a path from my heart to yours – and there is a path from your heart to mine too – so that we’ll always know there is a home for us, especially when you find the need, or just to be reassured that it’s there.
I love you my dear child.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.