samedi, avril 01, 2006
I watched my eight-year old as he cavorted like a young whale in the safe waters of a local Y today, and I was overwhelmed with waves of love for him. There is no naming, no understanding, no quantifying the bond between me and the boy I've called "bud" or "Mr. C" since he was born. But I have a confession. Before he arrived, I thought loving a boy baby would be more difficult, might need to be more conscious, than the organic, innate, unquestioned adoration I had for my daughter. Boy's, and the way they thought and behaved, were a huge mystery to me. I grew up with a dad, a brother, and male cousins, so you would think I'd be a little smarter about how males operate and how to nurture them. Some days, I'm still not completely sure I've got a handle on parenting, let alone parenting a boy. But I have learned some things about my son, just by watching. I know that he's got the instinctive timing of a stand up comic, the emotional intelligence of an "old soul", and a patience with his sometimes bossy older sister that amazes me (fyi-she just popped in to ask what I was writing about "my annoying brother") . Here's what I didn't tell her- he's got an amazing throwing arm, and loves to hang out with his neighborhood buddies, but he knows enough to ask his mom for a hug when he needs one. Delightfully, that seems to be often. Our bedtime chats about friends, family and Yu-gi-oh cards (don't ask) are some of the the highlights of my day. In hindsight, my anxiety seems just another silly symptom of my oh-so-human desire to predict, to control, and to understand. He reminds me at every turn that I am not in charge, and that love is the divine gift of a generous and awesome God. I pray pretty much every day for the grace to be the mother than he needs. As it happens, the challenge is not to love him enough, but to know when, and at what times, to open my hands and let him become the person he is meant to be. They don't give you a manual for that, either.