Friday, February 28, 2003

We Go Way Back...

Tomorrow William will be 12 years old. Though he is articulate and tall, artistic and opinionated, I still think of him in terms of his relation to me. I think of how he began, and our life together. More and more he is independent; an individual being. Last Fall Geoff and I tried to give him a tour of the city where he was born, where he lived his first year. We sat in our vehicle and pointed out to him the window of his first room, in his first home. We walked around the same lake we used to visit when he sat in his stroller. And understandably, none of it held much significance to him. He didn't remember the nature center or the bakery, the community church, or the dozen little things we thought mattered. By the end of the day, and our rambling tour of the city, Geoff and I laughed at ourselves for anticipating this all to be a profound revelation to our first born son. In the end, the nostalgic tour was revealing and interesting for us, his parents. But William experienced his own day, made his own memories.

It is challenging to accept that more and more he is separate from us. Likely, I never had as much knowledge of his thoughts, or influence, as I thought, but now he can verbalize his individuality. He can reveal to me the power and uniqueness of his self. The responsibility of pregnancy and birth, of nurturing and protecting, of exposing a child to the world, is so profound and consuming that I find myself still encapsulated in a world of memories; nursing, sheltering, cooing and comforting. Sometimes I try to take him back in time and emotion with me, and remind him we were a pair, he was my baby, I knew his cries and I revolved my life around his needs and our values as a family.

12 is a lot. He has responsibilities and we have expectations. And 12 is still a part of the beginning. It does matter that we walked him around the lake, that I nursed him, that he traveled, and saw Sesame Street Live. He doesn't have to remember all of it for it to be part of him, and he doesn't even have to like some of the choices we made. Tomorrow William will be 12 years old, and he is a wonderful boy. He shows profound caring, and has strong convictions, he gives warm hugs, and cooks delicious quesadillas. He can sing well, but says he doesn't like to. He does like to play tennis and swim, read, draw and write. He wants to direct films or build his inventions, or do set design or write scripts. He worries about his cats, and the state of the world. And because he is older he can make some choices on his own, and because he is taller he can reach further than before, and because he is my son I will remember how we started, I will still make rules, offer guidelines, love him, and I will marvel at the process I am privileged to witness; watching William become.

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