Thursday, June 9, 2011

Catching Sweetness

He used to be a tumbling pile of sweetness, catching me in hugs and giggles.  Verbal verbatim in precocious curiosity.  Clinging to me in the kitchen.  Holding my hand as we skipped home from the library - a side-stepping dance of don't step on the cracks.  Falling asleep curled against my chest as I brushed sweet dreams through his hair.

He used to be an undulating ray of delight, learning his letters in rainbow colours of chalk on the driveway.  Cupping my face with chubby fingers and calling me 'Pretty Mommy'.  Curling onto my lap with old photo albums.

He used to be three years old.

Used to be.

He is no longer.

Torn jeans.  Patched and repatched and torn and repatched.  Video games.  Television.  Mumbled responses.  (In what alien universe does 'Uhhuuh' mean I don't know?)  I am no longer the gentle womb that birthed him into this world.  I have become the dark blockage to his freedom..."But everybody has facebook!"  The damming of his independence..."But everybody's allowed to go to the store!"  The choke-hold on his liberty..."But that's not FAIR!"

Nothing ever is.

And he's quite content to fix those gorgeous big eyes on a screen and speak nothing beyond an occational 'Uhhuuh.'

What if I had caught that six-years-ago sweetness?  Sealed it in a mason jar?  Brought it out and dumped it all over his insolence, drowning him in his three-year-old self?  What if...?

...

He stumbles through the back door, racking in sobs, tears tracing through spring dust on his already sunburned face - new freckles peeking from among sorrow trails - shaking breathes and devastating disappointment crumpling him against me, face wetting my neck (how did he ever get so tall?), arms clinging like I might be the only thing to save him from this sadness...

His friend.  His very best friend in the whole world had a fight with another boy at the gazebo where they play - swore a sailor string of curses so offensive that I could be the only saviour.

And so he clings, questioning the character of his best friend, affirming his belief in my own...and I finally see it - the result of that mason jar dump - the SWEETNESS - heart broken by breaking words.

And I let him cry and I let him calm and I let myself revel in this moment of his need, in this new wash of what he once was - what he still is somewhere beneath Pokemon obsession and surly attitude - and I am reminded that despite mumbles and new preoccupations I will always and forever be his first love and he will always and forever be that bundle of beauty with dimpled fingers and gentle spirit who used to nestle in my arms and whisper against my ear, "I you much, Mommy."

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