My first-born son is going to be turning 15 soon. I was just looking in the basement in his chest of things that I’ve kept. Sitting next to me right now is a tattered and torn baby blue blanket that was at one time size Twin. It’s one of those cotton weaves that has long since lost it’s sheer silky edge. It has several holes in it, however, the few patches that still remain have a softness that you can’t deny. I also hold a picture of my son at about age 3, wrapped up in this very blanket. He wouldn’t go anywhere without his blanket; just like the little boy on Charlie Brown.
Being the first-born, he got the benefit of most of mom’s attention. I had time to video tape every single day … well, at least for a while until I realized that doing so really was an impossible task. I remember one particular taping where he kept hiding in his blanket saying, ‘No smile me, Mom. No smile me.’ With the camera in one hand and the tip of the blanket in the other, I would gently yank the blanket to uncover him. He would adamantly tell me again, ‘No smile me, Mom.’
I remember how he used to get excited over trying new things … like playing on that cool merry-go-round at the park. He would jump up, put his hands at his side, and rapidly twist both hands in towards his body. Meanwhile, his eyebrows would raise and his mouth would gape open as if he were getting ready to wrap his lips around one honker of a jaw breaker. I also remember when we were at a park the next town over with a zoo attached. We had been having a great time at the zoo and just a few minutes after arriving at the park, it began to rain. My little 4-year-old was not very happy about this. He stomped fiercely with his arms solidly at his side, eyebrows burrowed together in determination as if he stomped hard enough towards the car, it might just stop raining. The rain still came.
Like the rain, the memories keep coming. Now, however, my son is just a hair shy of 6 foot. I now have to look up to the big blue eyes that used to look up at me.
I would be lying only to myself if I refused to admit that his growing up is tough on me. I’m still learning how to transition from being mother bear to a guide helping my son enter adulthood. Sometimes I feel bad for my son for being the oldest. Poor guy gets the benefit of all the learning experiences that I have to go through to figure out just how to be a parent.
Sometimes I honestly wonder if he hasn’t figured it out a time or two and is using it to his advantage. But then, that just reminds me of the time when he was 4. I found him sneaking suckers, and the place he happened to hide them was under MY side of the bed! OH BOY! Jesus, thank you for the memories that make us smile and consider that craftiness was at one time cute. But, Oh Lord, please help us!