It’s 5am. I’m sitting here in the dark (growing light) as I write this. I’ve got cheapy resort bath slippers on my feet against the balcony railing and hot hotel coffee with no creamer (gag) in my cup. I can hear the ocean, rolling, rolling–the sexiest thing ever by the way. And I can almost see the ocean from up here…!Just the whites of it as it slaps against the shore.
I’ve also got 7 adolescent boys passed out in the room next to me. Not in the same sleeping arrangements I left them in last night. They’ve rearranged themselves at some point after I demanded that they had done enough “dares” and it was finally bedtime. Good stuff. They won’t be up for awhile I’m sure. So I have time.
It’s my babies birthday. 10 years. A decade. Double digits. New territory, though we’ve kind of merged to this period in life for awhile now. The stage where he doesn’t need me very much. He can make his own dinner (but not his own bed??) at social outings he is gone for hours until we leave and even then it’s like “aw, what? I have to go home with you people?!” Yes, any and every opportunity to get away from us and be independent, he scoops it up.
I guess you could say that at 10 years old he only needs me for the things he doesn’t want me for…. homework, putting on sunscreen, taking out the trash, asking for help with his little brother… it’s almost like I need him more than he needs me now.
But that’s just what it feels like most days though. It’s the facade of the day to day which distracts us from understanding the deeper purpose of our closest relationships.
See, this boy is slowly becoming a man. Bit by bit. Breath by breath. Slower than he’d like, I’m sure. And the painstaking redundance of our daily routines shape him just as much as our occasional deeper moments.
I’ve learned that at this age, the letting go and the space I allow between us both physically and emotionallly, is just as vital an intention as it was to hold his hands as he learned how to walk those many years ago.
There’s this metaphor about raising sons Ive become familiar with, since my son was a baby… When he was a baby, I heard a metaphor about raising sons. A mother sits on a blanket in a field and her boy takes a couple steps out, turns to look at her and then goes back to her. And he proceeds to go loop around back and forth, farther and farther out… a few steps, then a dozen, at some point he goes out, looks back but keeps going for a while, and always returning to mama.
Over these 10 years I’ve found this to be crazy true.
We are actually celebrating this milestone early. I’ll be traveling next week on his actual birthday and missing it (major mom crime?) so here we are, our action filled paintball resort extravaganza. I’ve spent maybe 10 minutes with him this weekend. He’s on a definitely loop away from mama. He doesn’t need me there. He needs me here, the unfocused but permanent figure in the background of his life. I love watching him grow. More than anything. Even if it’s from this view point. And I’ll be here when the friends are gone and hes over tired and being a you-know-what, I’ll be here understanding, keeping him responsible and rested, and most of well loved. No matter what, along the way, in whatever way shape or form.