Yesterday I was trolling through my blog and I stumbled upon a piece written – two blogs ago – in 2009.
Tate was 13. He turns 20 next month. I thought I would share it with you….
There was a time when I missed him while he slept. There was a time when I could not get home quick enough from work to see him, the short drive was agonizing and every stop light or errand on the way kept him further from my arms. I cried in the toy store when I pulled the string and the pull toy played “You are My Sunshine”, because for the first time in my life, I understood why it was written. His blue eyes connected to my hazel ones like long-lost friends. His face brought meaning to my life and defined my time on earth. I knew who I was, where I was meant to be and what I was supposed to do.
Those days are gone. Oh yeah baby, they are gone. I may have been able to peer at the terrible twos through a pair of rose-colored glasses, keep my glass half full, not half empty, see the bright side of the tantrums and the slaps to the face and the monkey on the counter. I have navigated potty training and sibling rivalry and bullies and changing schools and broken hearts. Lost socks, lost pets, Lost Grandmothers. I have stayed in the game. But I am having a nearly impossible time recognizing the new boy. He is so big, and, well… man-ish. I don’t know him. Shades remind me of the boy who used to drive me nuts with the constant whistling, the humming and singing off-key, but who now won’t look me in the eye, won’t have a conversation that does not involve him getting a cell phone. I miss the whistling and the clumsy yet consistently present hugs.
Sometimes I wonder if I ever really knew him. If the boy I thought I knew was really only the one in the pictures. Have I been too busy? Carrying things up the stairs? Did I miss something very important? Could I have been there more…or less, to prevent this? Should I have sent him to a different school or dropped him off at Bloomingdale’s and made him find his way home? Should I have had fewer children or perhaps one more to even the score? Is it all going to be finally revealed that I suck as a Mother. Will the jig be up? And are the others right behind, lulling me with their sticky smiles and their easy accessibility and warm snuggles, only to very soon kick me off the couch and relegate me to the other side of their bedroom door. Or worse, sit right next to me and not acknowledge my presence.
I think I would be better at this if I had no feelings. Or if my feelings were more mature. I should be more self-sacrificing. If I could disconnect myself from him, like his Dad can do. Maybe that is the answer. He can stay so calm, even when all crap hits the fan and he wants to smack him. He can stay so distant. Yet he always looks like he loves him. Yeah, I wish I could just be numb.
I know, underneath my insecurity and my rantings and my yelling and my tears in the car, I know that he is doing what he is supposed to do. I really do, I know in some way, he is demonstrating to me that indeed I have done my job right. His net is so secure and he knows that I will forever open his parachute and he is showing me that he is brave enough to jump. To push the boat from the dock. I just wish there was a way, an effective way to communicate to him that I promise I will let him go, but could I be treated less like the annoying dog poo he just stepped in? But maybe, intuitively under the hair and the pout, he knows full well, he needs to help me let him go. That as we stand, I am too attached and as God is his witness he is going to change that. At the end of this road, I will be there with his bags, kissing him on the cheek, but no longer on my knees like I used to predict that I would be. Like I used to imagine I would do when I looked at him in the rear view mirror, safely buckled in, pacifier bobbing and saying “I luss you Mama.”
I miss the boy in the rear view mirror, I did not have him for long enough. It went too fast, and I am not even close to ready to do this and I do not recall anyone, not one person, preparing me for this. How in the world could they?
Seems to me, life is about just one good-bye after another.
And maybe, I simply need to find a way to say hello to the new boy.
I do love him so.