Sunday, June 22, 2008
Please Don't Grow
The first time I met my son I immediately fell in love.
Well, not immediately, if truth be told. Immediately I thought - "Who's that?" after they laid his slippery body on my stomach and his face shot up to within inches of mine - and we looked at each other with mutual fear and surprise.
But later, as the pain became something I would gladly endure again and again to receive such an amazing reward (mostly because it was now a memory), I gazed on his sleeping form on the eve of our first night together and thought I'd never loved anyone so shamelessly and completely.
And I could tell he was an old soul - not just because he came with male-pattern baldness and a comb-over.
For the first time in my life, I didn't want TIME to hurry up and get somewhere else.
All I wanted was to hold him and love him and have him in my arms. I wanted TIME to stop so he wouldn't grow up and leave.
Other mothers have said in consolation that TIME brings new joys with children and that it just keeps getting better. Two months into Kaleb's life (10 weeks and three days) - I believe them - but am happy to just enjoy what I have. Although....I have to admit I am really enjoying the awareness that TIME is bringing into my son's life.
Last week, we were hanging out in Kaleb's room, my iPod playing in the background, me putting away his laundry - him lounging on his changing pad. Suddenly, I heard coos and aahhs join the chorus to Jet's 'Are You Gonna Be My Girl?' Yeah! I yelled and grabbed him up to dance with me. And we rocked out together.
For a few weeks now I've had a couple cute, stuffed animals hanging off the handrail atop Kaleb's car seat. Mostly, they were for me. They looked adorable but he was completely unaware of them. A handful of days ago, he started engaging the black and white cow and the pink teething pig in an emphatic conversation. I'm pretty sure he's convinced them to see things his way.
And on occasion, my soothing voice actually cuts through his senseless fussiness. And by fussiness I mean: brain shattering, throat ripping, heart piercing wails for which I've been given no translation guide. (That part hasn't been as much fun). But kisses will sometimes now turn his heartaches into smiles. It's the best.
Right now he's mine. Or ours. Our little guy. And my worry is: when he gets older, I have to give him up. And of course I do. That's my job: to raise him to be a self-sufficient adult and a kind and happy man. But that also means I'll need to let him go. And I am already dreading this.
I'm already seeing it happen with my 10 year old step-son, Kyle and his father, my husband Howard. Just a couple short months ago, Kyle would turn his head away in disgust when he'd witness people kissing on television. "Ewwwwww," he'd plead if it was us showing the affection.
But last Wednesday, he graduated from Elementary School. He'll be attending Lindero Middle School next year. And before they sent them off, they gave them a 5th grade graduation dance. And he asked a girl to be his date. A girl....with no ewwws in the vicinity.
Howard suggested Kyle ask her if she'd like for them to pick her up beforehand. And Kyle almost immediately picked up the phone to call and ask her! With no hesitation. Wow. I was really impressed with his temerity.
Before talking to him, she made sure when she answered his call, that it was really him by quizzing him about things only he'd know (like his last name). Apparently, some not as mature 5th graders had been plaguing her with crank calls pretending to be him. After ascertaining that it was indeed her date, she informed him that she planned on going with her friends and she'd just meet him there.
Then Howard suggested he bring her flowers. "OK," he said and went across the street to a vacant neighbor's house in search of the perfect rose to clip off their bushes. Just like that. Again, I didn't remember being so fearless with the opposite sex when I was his age.....or even when I was 30.
He went to the dance and we got to peek in and see him jumping up and down with the girl and their friends and later we heard there was a slow song that he danced to with his date. Again, wow. I couldn't believe this was the same boy I had met four years ago, age 6!, now a budding pre-teen.
I am happy for Kyle because he seems more relaxed in his new awareness. But I am watching my husband's pain as he grapples with the reality that next year they won't be walking to school together every morning - as they have done since Kyle entered Kindergarden.
And now I understand.
Most Photos are provided by our photographer friend, Suzy Shearer (that's why I'm in them). Thanks Suzy! (firstname.lastname@example.org for more info)