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.
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.