Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I don't wanna grow up, I'm a Toys-R-Us Kid

I stood there watching from about 100 ft away. I took a deep cleansing breathe from the crisp, sweet morning air. It was then I realized I had been holding my breath, afraid of what the day might bring for him, for me. He turned and looked back, not a care in the world; his biggest decision for today was whether or not to pack his lunch or eat at school. Reassured that I was there, he happily walked away. Suddenly, he stopped, turned and ran back into my arms. I kiss him on his forehead and tell him how much I love him, even if he aggravates me to no end. He said half sobbing and half laughing, "I hope you are there to watch me the rest of my life". Mimicking my own laugh, he's off again; ready to take on the day. Once again, I stand and watch as my only live child begins to take steps towards independence.

Leaning against the doorframe, I think about what he said. My biggest concern has always been the same, never wavering. I want to be there to watch my son grow, learn and make his own mistakes. I want my son to one day be a strong, independent man. Yet, at the same time, I want my son to always need his mother. I am sure in some fashion or another, he will. As far as I know, all mothers feel this way about their children.

These past 8 months have been a struggle for us. A new man coming into our lives, his beloved Jac going back to work, having to make sure every day he knows which house to come home to. The only man who he trusted enough to get close to, left with no explanation that he could comprehend. His father remarrying after 8 years of undivided attention, gone in a 20 minute ceremony. The news of being a big brother, not to the boy as he had hoped, but to a dreaded girl. After all, everyone knows girls can't play like boys can. And once she is old enough to play, he will be off doing his own thing. Throw in school, which he doesn't understand half the time, lots of homework that needs to be done before he can play baseball, or have fun with the neighbor kids. And the icing on his cake that is melting in 90-degree weather, his mother has something terrible called cancer. Not to forget that his aunt has it also.

Did I mention the kid doesn't have a care in the world? Ahhhh, to go back to the youthful days of small responsibilities. Coming home to find a note left on the table telling me my chores for the day. Hurrying to get them done before Little House on the Prairie came on at 4 p.m. Having the kitchen TV. all to myself, because my brothers and sister were not interested in "kid stuff". Playing outside on nice days, sitting on my rooftop, I was the queen of my universe; and no one ever told me different. The worst possible scenario in our household was my two older brothers getting into a fight and beating each other with cast iron skillets. (I was huddling in the doorway, screaming to the top of my lungs that I was going to tell on them)

When did the world of children become so complicated? Is it something of our doing or is it just the evolution of man? I want to go back to the days of someone telling me what to do; managing money for me and my worst enemy was the mosquito that would leave whelps on my skin. I want to go back to waking up in the morning and smelling fresh cinnamon biscuits cooking in the oven. I want to go back to the days when I thought boys were only good for putting worms on my hook. I want to go back to the days when my mother actually remembered my name. I want to go back to sitting in the living room with my Daddy watching Jeopardy and eating frosted flakes.

I look down at my sleeping son some nights and I wonder, what does he think about? What does he dream about? Does he know how much I love him? Will he ever be able to fully comprehend some of the decisions I have made in his best interest? Does he care? Will I ever be able to watch him grow into the man I know he can be?

I hope so. And when he thinks back on his childhood, I hope he remembers those carefree days of youth gone by and not the horrible memories of things we are going through now.

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