How did it happen? A blink ago he was but a babe held in my arms so safe. Looking into my eyes with such depth. Holding onto my fingers so tightly with his small fist, his fingers grasping on as though I was his link to the whole wide world that he knew. I can still remember him as I would hold him upright in my arms looking over my shoulder ...mouthing his thumb or smacking his lips, drooling on my shoulder, nuzzling my neck with his little head. I could hear his sweet breath on me in my ear. So close, so dear.
Another blink...he is learning to walk on wobbly short legs holding on to our dog Jesse by the back as they went down our hallway. Silly sounds he would make, falling down and picking himself up. So happy. Jesse and he the same age. Family and friends thought I was crazy to get a puppy when I had a three month old baby. To me it was perfectly normal and easy. They were little buddies together.
Blink....he is on his yellow tractor in the driveway. Trying to scoop up dirt, wood or his outside toys with the front loader. He could name me all the parts of a truck, could name me every type of truck and what they did. We spent so much time outside where there were trees to climb, to help Daddy where he worked in the garage, help to feed our horses or bring them from the field. Daddy would put him on our white mare Synmora as they would come to the barn. Rocking on her back, holding onto her long silver white mane. Our yard his park. Daddy built a large sandbox where he would work with his toy trucks. Endless job sites he would make and tear down to start all over again and again.
Blink...tossing baseballs with Daddy back and forth. I couldn't get the hang of using a mitt and he was throwing much stronger so it was a shift from me to Daddy. Everything was Daddy. I was in his world but not the way he needed. Daddy built "our field of dreams" in the pasture where I would work the horses with my lunge line. The Little League team played here with a game between the dad's and the boys. The mommies watching above realizing our little boys were growing so fast and away from us. It was then that we each opened up how those baby/child days were gone. They had slipped past us with barely a chance to know what had happened. Our men looking at their boys and they too at last seeing the boys they had only seen as "mama's boy's" now theirs. Now they could dream of what they thought their son's would become. They all thought their boy's were the best little baseball players and yet they were only 7.
Blink....we share a love for books. Night after night reading stories at bedtime till the time came when he would want to read by himself. I was happy that he found such pleasure in this but still missed crawling up on his bed, snuggled so close, he hanging on every word I would read to him. Now I could see him through the curtains on the french doors to his room, propped up on his bed turning pages till he would hop down and turn off the light. All by himself. I wanted so much to be there reading with him but I knew this time was his.
Blink....Did he just turn 9, 10, 11, 12....did those years just fly by without my having a say? Could we not hold those days of walks by the duck pond, playing at the park, swim lessons, trips to get ice cream on a hot summer day? What about the kid movies where we would get candy or popcorn or both along with a Slushie, because he is my last baby and I can't really say no. All the trips to buy Pokemon cards at Target for his collection. Going to see the SF Giants play in San Francisco and of course buying a hot dog and a soda. What could be better on a sunny day or even a night game with the crowd cheering on our home team. Looking at the stars on a dark night, listening out for the owl in the redwood tree by the barn. Peewee golf, golfing with Daddy on a nine hole golf course.
Blink.....he is fourteen. His electric guitar he plays with such intensity. I hear him everyday as he practices, trying out new riffs, recognizing Santana, Guns n Roses, Led Zeppelin from time to time and now new musicians I am not familiar with. I am learning from him. I am in awe of him and is devotion to his music.
Sometimes I look at him when he does not see me. I wonder what he is thinking, what is going through his mind. What an awkward age from this last year of Middle School before High School. He is such a good student and I understand his need for space without mom and dad. I remember that time for me when I too wanted to be alone in my room, the door shut not wanting to be with the rest of the household. I respect that time for him yet I miss him so. I know that in the next blink he will be heading out the door from us. On to the next blink in his life...but it will be his life without us.
I selfishly want to go back and do it all over, exactly the same, to try it all over again. I want to feel him in my arms as he falls asleep, that moment when I would lay him down in his crib where he would roll to his side and his thumb would slide into his mouth, sucking so softly. His cheeks rosy from nursing as he lay against his little lambie he slept upon. I could stand there and watch him endlessly. I could have chosen not to put him in that crib but keep him between my Love and I. So many times we would lay him between us, marveling at him, touching his so soft skin, stroking his little fists. He was so wanted. He was a dream that happened after such a long time from his sisters. Our little miracle.
Each day though I know I must let him go. It started really a long time ago. Those days when he would scamper away from me at the park, looking back to see where I was but off he would go. I know he will always be here in my heart if not in my line of sight. I know I will still feel his hugs though now he looks down on me and his shoulders are beginning to broaden as he awkwardly puts his arms around me. Soon it will be a girl friend he holds and I will be out of his thoughts, as it should be. My man /child.
Photo by Megan Frasheski