I just read Tia's eloquent post of motherhood and the end of babyhood in her life (Tia is a co-21.5.800 challenge participant). Read her grace-filled blog. Her post is full of the longing and poignancy and celebration and hurt that being a mother often entails. And I realised that I seldom if ever post about my sons.
I talk about them to the point that some people – mostly people who don’t have children - sometimes want me to talk about something else. But in the online world, you could read my blog, or follow me on twitter, or even friend me on facebook and go long periods of time without knowing about my sons or how very very much they mean to me.
In part that is because of my respect for their privacy. And because more than anything my drive in life is to protect them. They are not my babies anymore. I cannot take cute pictures of their tiny little toes (BB1 wears a size 13 shoe) and post them with bliss-filled rhapsodies of their adorable-ness. Though I do still find them mesmerizing. Nothing fills me up like hearing one or the other or - in the most miraculous moments of heaven - both of them laugh. BB1 laughs like me, varying between loud guffaws and silent shaking. BB2s laugh is softer, more tentative, internal, secret.
We are at a crucial, delicate, and sometimes poorly handled stage. I am becoming an empty-nester, through fluctuatingly mutual accord. BB1 has been gone, aside from weekly dinners, for 10 days now. Working and living and getting by in the manner that only 3 twenty-year old friends can do. BB2 isn’t far behind – working out the details for his own bachelor pad with friends in the next couple weeks. It’s been a process. Still is. Imperfect, and necessary.
And so, inspired by Tia, this post is for them. For my beautiful boys. You are welcome to read it – they likely won’t, and someone should know that I mean it:
As I was packing for the move, I came across your notes. Your drawings. Your poems and songs. I remember your sweet voices singing them to me. I remember your wee chubby hands handing them to me with love. I remember that there were good times, though sometimes we see the other times more clearly.
I remember when you knew, BB1, that if you signed a poem with “Love to mommy from your sweetie” that I would always always knew who it was from. Always. Do you know that you’re still my sweetie? That no matter where you live, you’ll always have a home - you’ll always have someone who wants to hear your voice and to know that you’re safe and happy. To hear you laugh. Do you know that when you text I save it? That I miss your smile and your hugs and am so incredibly proud of you and D going out and creating a way to take care of yourselves in a crap job market. You have amazing friends because you are an amazing man - loyal and brave and funny and compassionate and with the strongest sense of justice I’ve ever witnessed. I know that things haven’t always been easy or fair. That there were times you wanted to yell or fight back or rage at me for mistakes I’ve made. Thank you for your gentleness with me.
And BB2. My creative, imaginative, sure-handed man-child – builder of cities made of lego, of DVD cases, of books, of stone. One day we will see the roots of your empire in those plastic realms. Your deep deep eyes hide so many great plans and ideas. And so much hurt. I would give an Irish-German kingdom to know what goes on behind those beautiful eyes. You are so cherished. You have so much to offer. Your intelligence, aspirations, ability and insight create entire worlds of wonder. If I could wave a wizard’s wand and have you fulfill on all of that I would. Except that would rob you of the learning and reward of creating it for yourself. My proudest moments are when someone finds a way to get you sharing about the things you are passionate about, like when you sat with Great-Grandma and the two of you discussed European history for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t contribute much to the conversation, and I didn’t want to – it was enough to sit and watch the two of you in your element. I know you’re scared right now and somewhat bewildered. I know you’ll deny that’s the case. I fought for you when I carried you. I fought for you when you were a sick newborn. I fought for you at 12 and at 15 and at each and every step before and between and since. I will never stop fighting for you. And I know that when you’re ready you’ll accept all the love and support that’s right here waiting for you.
There are so many things a mother can look back on with regret - so many wishes and hopes and mis-steps. I look at you both, and I see the amazing men you are. And I know that whatever I did wrong, you took it and made it right. And that this isn’t the end, it’s just another step. And, most of all, I love you. Both. Always. Completely.