Saturday, August 22, 2009

Love, more

We're away. On vacation. But I come out of vacation to honor my boys' 9th birthday. To honor their last year in single digits here are letters to each of them. A bit long for typical posts but humor me. They have to share a birthday so why should they share a letter?

Dear darling one,

You are my tough guy. The one who will strut around the house with his pants half down pulling off some gansta move you learned from other white kids at camp. While part of me wants to fall over in hysterics at how just plain ridiculous you look the other part wants to pull your pants up and tell you to act right. You are quick to put on an I-don't-care face when you know you've done something wrong. And just as quick to sob as I send you to your room for being disrespectful.

But then, but then, the week before vacation you insisted on walking arm and arm with me, everywhere we went. Through the big city square, on a wooded and rocky mountain, and into the town coffee shop, you would sidle up to my side that didn't have a bag, slip your arm around my waist and lift my arm to drape over your shoulder. Then you would work really hard to get your steps in sink with mine. Your left foot out with mine. Your right foot out with mine. You would over compensate for my longer strides. This would go on for many city blocks, over several wooded hills.

Every few minutes you would yelp "Mama! We're in sync!"

Yes, my darling boy. I hope we will always be in sync.

Happy Birthday. I love you,


Dear darling one,

This summer I started in earnest to teach your younger sister how to ride a bike without training wheels. It has been a struggle because she can do it. She has the balance and the strength but she doesn't believe she can do it. It is probably the thing that drives me the most nuts as a mother - when one of you can do something but you won't do it because of fear, doubt, lack of practice. It was exactly what happened with you when you were learning to ride a bike. You didn't believe in yourself and then one day you got it. And off you went, riding far away from me.

One afternoon this summer, in the parking lot of a courthouse, you watched me seethe as your sister kept giving up on herself. And you looked me in the eye and said "Mom, I feel your stress."

I nearly fell over. Both from your empathy and from embarrassment.

Around the same time you started to spontaneously say "I love you" to me. Sometimes with a hug, sometimes as a comment as you passed by on your way out the backdoor to play or ride your bike. You never said it to worm your way out of a punishment. You just say it.

And like when you feel my stress, telling me you love me just makes me melt.

Because you will never know how much I love you.

Happy birthday little man,


Ambassador said...

Just lovely...


mmdennison said...

Darn! I held out, but you got me at the end...why is it that my friends' experiences of motherhood feel as raw to me as my own?

Nice job, friend.

Fourier Analyst said...

In typical Dutch fashion, I wish you (belated) congratulations on the anniversary of the birth of your boys. You are a shining example of motherhood and make me want to do better myself!