A Tree House Would be Nice

Posted on | January 18, 2019 | 2 Comments

“It would be fun to have a yard where Dad and I could build a tree house,” J says from the back seat on the way to school. I catch a glimpse of him in the rear view mirror and smile. He’s still dreaming little kid dreams even as he’s perched on the edge of puberty. I watch him for a moment, the gap in his teeth, the unkempt hair, the wide and bright eyes… and I wonder how much longer it will be before these moments fade into distant memory.

There’s so much I want to tell him about what comes next… the angst, the anger, the feelings of confusion and often hopelessness. There’s so much I want to prepare him for, this boy who is so much like me that it hurts the spaces inside me I haven’t thought of since my own days of being 9, going on 10. There’s a sudden rush of feeling that maybe, just maybe, if I just stop the car, we can stay like this: me, the idolized mom and him the child who still believes that almost anything can be solved by a hug from me.  But we can’t stay where we don’t belong.

Growing up is hard work for both of us, the push and pull of holding on and letting go… the knowledge that they’re making mistakes that could be easily avoided if they’d just listen. I see his future so clearly. I see the sweetness in him that will one day be tossed aside or labeled a weakness. I see the intelligence that he’s so proud of now that may one day embarrass him. I see everything about this wonderful first born of mine… all his strengths and weaknesses… and I love them all. He is brilliant and funny, goofy and sweet, and he lacks a certain ability to mold to the situations around him. He is who he is at all times… there’s no holding back with this kid… and part of me thinks maybe I should tamp that down before someone else does. But that’s not my job. It is my job simply to love him and prepare him for the push back that will come with growing older, the push back that comes from others wanting him to conform. It’s not my job to help him conform… it’s my job to teach him to embrace and revel in his nonconformity… even when it scares me. Even when I worry that someone will come along behind me and tell him I’m wrong, and teach him to reign in all the special that makes him unique. I want so badly to shield him from all that comes next.

He grins at my reflection in the mirror and I grin back.

“A tree house would be nice,” I agree, and swallow down the choke of tears. I wink at him in the mirror then turn my attention to the road, to focus on enjoying the drive ahead of us.


2 Responses to “A Tree House Would be Nice”

  1. Facie
    January 18th, 2019 @ 9:41 am

    I have been behind in your postings. I had no idea you were pregnant. Congratulations!

    I am glad this one showed up in my FB feed so I could get caught up. I can relate to this post.

  2. Santa Claus
    January 21st, 2019 @ 7:04 pm

    Absolutely lovely :-)}

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