Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

In between morning rushes, bedtime stories, bug-collecting, ow-ies, bandaids, being superheroes, couch forts, snuggles, potty-ing and dinner times, I look at my son and can see that the tiny baby who was nearly an extension of me at first, nearly always attached to me in some way, mute, and helpless, is now (not so suddenly, but still astoundingly)  A Person.  With a Self.  A Self who is independent of me on many levels, and becoming more so every day.  And this is a good thing, something to be celebrated. 

 Now that he is walking, talking, running, discovering, arguing, negotiating, making friends, imagining, philosophizing about life, even...everyday, you can SEE that Self in there more clearly.  It's breathtaking and awe inspiring and just...you know.    He's breaking out of the cocoon of babyness and butterflying his way out. 

It reminds me of  turtles.  You know, the sea turtles?  The ones that hatch on the beach and somehow, someway have to make it all the way down to the ocean, their new, fragile little flippers dragging them through the sand, rife with predators and inclement weather and god knows what-all. 

My son's sense of Who He Is, and how he feels about himself is a baby turtle.  Cautiously venturing out from the safety of the egg, tentatively making his way out into the big ocean all full of multitudes of different, amazing, potentially harmful creatures.  Many of whom would love a nice baby turtle appetizer and won't think twice about taking it.

Of course, I love the Self that is emerging.  And I encourage it.  I want to hold it in my hand and admire its beauty, its intricacy, its perfect design.  I work hard to reflect back to him what I want him to see within- a worthwhile person, with amazing, smart ideas, a wonderful imagination, valid feelings, strength and sensitivity.  I want him to know that he is worth seeing, worth listening to, worth loving.  Worthy of pursuing desire, of pleasure, of peace.

And while I would like to just hold an umbrella over him as he navigates his way to the ocean, aiming a shotgun at any hungries who happen to come by, I know that's impractical.  And ultimately, unhealthy for both of us.  I can't protect him from every heartbreak, from those who would tell him he's somehow inferior, from disappointment.  All I can do is give him the best start possible, and a safe place to come back to when the seas get rough.

But I might sleep with a harpoon under my pillow and carry a trident behind my back. 
You know, just in case.

1 comment:

Katie Christensen said...

Do you know you're a whiz with words? That kid is lucky to have a mama like you, trident and all!