Sunday, September 11, 2011

Six, or Pulling Away

Friday morning as we walked toward your school, you let my hand go and told me you didn't need to hold it. I saw you look at some of the older kids - two girls standing by the gates - when you asked me for your bookbag and lunchbox. You slipped one on and took the other in your hand, you who usually complain that they're too heavy and can't I please just hold them for you?

You will not remember this moment, but I will. It's the first time you pull away from me, the first time ever that you don't want to hold my hand. I say nothing. I go along with this as if it's all perfectly o.k., when really, my heart is deflating.

As we near the school building, you reach over and grab my hand. Again, I say nothing, but you smile up at me when I give it a little squeeze. Oh, I realize that very moment, he's not quite ready to let go.

But the point's been made: you've turned a corner, and the desire to pull away from me has been sparked.

Away, not apart.

I say this more for myself, so that I don't completely lose it.

I'm not wholly surprised; I believe a big part of my job as your mother is to help you grow away from me as confidently as possible, and I've been working on that for years now, all those moments when I help you learn something or push you to figure it out for yourself or tell you you can do it, it's o.k., and hold you to it, refusing to rescue you. But still, that first sign from you that the shift I knew would come is glimmering in you, and - wow. A mom can't ever fully prepare for that, I guess.

Sweet boy, you're so bright and quirky and stubborn and chatty and sensitive and full of laughter. I love the way your sense of humor is growing, and that you want so badly to be good and helpful. I love how free you are with your affection, and the way your face betrays you when you do something you're not supposed to.

You drive me nuts with your constant challenging, with the way I have to repeat things like 3,000 times, with the moments where you make dumb choices and I have to let you feel the consequences of your actions.

You are maddening and the source of so much worry and frustration and wonder and elation. And every day my love for you deepens, and the jolt of that truth when it hits me never fails to startle me, because I thought I already loved you more than humanly possible.

And so, with you turning six today, I understand that I must help guide you through this new phase of your growth toward independence. I have to be o.k. with you pulling away, encourage you sometimes, even. I have to show you in whatever way I can that you can do it and that I believe in you, so you should believe in yourself, too.

But no matter what, I'll always be ready and willing to hold your hand, and yes, I'm going to give it a little squeeze.

Happy Birthday, my monkey.



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Posted by Tere @ 9/11/2011   | |


  • Blogger Nicole posted at 9/11/2011 1:57 AM  
    That was pretty awesome.
  • Blogger Maria de los Angeles posted at 9/11/2011 2:32 PM  
    So beautiful, Tere. Your words and thoughts are always so beautiful. Happy birthday to that little guy. And go treat yourself to something nice today, too! You deserve it.
  • Blogger Tere posted at 9/11/2011 9:50 PM  
    Thanks to both of you - sweet words from some very thoughtful, kind ladies!
  • Anonymous Promotional Pnes posted at 9/12/2011 9:52 AM  
    Bittersweet, being a mother! :) You are right, we have to let them go and that is just part of the job.
  • Anonymous 2 Button Mens Suits posted at 9/13/2011 4:18 AM  
    A very beautiful words from a mother and sweetness thoughts and I'm happy to reading it because you share what's on your heart.
  • Blogger AmandaDufau posted at 9/13/2011 1:55 PM  
    Te la comistes!

    I think I tell you that every year ;-)

    Happy bithday Max!
    (love the pic.)
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