I see kindness in his eyes, and the way he treats little kids, always with such gentleness. I see how fun he is with everyone he meets. He wants to make them laugh; he wants to include them; he wants to bring them joy.
I see his passions. Music, art, writing, throwing three balls then four, up into the air. I see other interests always brewing, a love for ancient history, a fascination with random scientific facts, and with maths (as long as it's complicated!). And I see a love for learning… as long as the learning involves a puzzle—a search like a treasure hunt—for the answers. I see my boy becoming an artist of the world, a traveler, a person buzzing, always, with curiosity.
I see him heading off, already, into his own world. His music takes him to concerts without me, to performances and camps and band tours. Already he is gone from me for hours, and when he is home, he speaks of jazz musicians from the 50's like they're old friends. He explains music and jazz to me with such patience. He wants me to get it, so I can sit in his world with him and nod my head alongside him and then two of his great loves can be hand in hand.
I see, and know, that I am loved. Oh, how I am. He says it every day. He shares his thoughts, all day, as long as I can listen, he talks. And talks! He loves to tell me everything that's in his head. For hours.
We joke about how this might change. The teenage years are coming, fast. We talk about how one day, he might just answer me in grunts. We may not see eye to eye. He may want to do something I don't want him to do. We might disagree, heatedly. One day, we might even argue!
We laugh about it now. But who knows? It could happen.
Would I be ready? Is any mother ever ready?
Well…that's something I'll deal with another time…when/if I have to.
I operate now, as best I can, by my new mantra (one of my many!). I try not to worry about things that may or may not happen in the future. I try not to worry about things I have no control over. And I try not to worry about things I do have control over. That's a lot of things not to worry about.
For now, my young man is still my boy. He still needs reassurance at night sometimes, and he has his little rituals. He is adorable and loving, and sometimes, there are moments I suddenly remember him as a baby. And my insides flip.
I remember how every day, I would smooth my face over the top of his head, where a fuzz of hair lay, over and over. Because it was so soft, and because he was mine.
I remember his smell, and how I would breathe him in.
And every day I would take a little strand of my hair, and stroke it over his cheek.
He would make this noise as I did it. "Uh. Uh. Uh."
He would smile up at me. And I would smile down.