...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Friday, August 17, 2007

every day, in every way...

This weekend, my oldest son turns 10. It is unfathomable to me that I'm saying this about a a child who was my first shaky attempt at parenting. I thought I knew all there was to know about being a mother before they actually handed this gorgeous creature to me and told me I now would be put to the test. However, in these 10 years, I've learned that I'm rather clueless.

I'm especially clueless when this very inquisitive boy spends so much of his days peppering me with questions about everything from bugs to basketball, from the planets to playing an instrument. He craves wrapping his mind around how ice cream can bring about a brain freeze ("If you were to somehow wrap your throat in cotton while eating ice cream, would it stop your brain from hurting?") to why it can be sunny outside and yet still be raining.

Everything fascinates him. If you have information about the Titanic, he'll be your best friend. If you're able to key him in with a killer lay up technique, prepare to spend the weekend in our driveway shooting baskets. Bonus points if you can arrange a way for him to drop out of fifth grade and go pro. My son, borne from parents who have the combined ability of two people better suited for the deep end of the bench, has developed into a truly amazing athlete. For several seasons now, our Saturdays are spent in a school gymnasium, watching him grow as an individual and as a team player. When he steals a ball and makes a basket, my already full heart swells to the point I fear it bursting all over and I want to rush out and hug him. I refrain, of course, so as not to embarrass him. But I know he knows this about me, for he'll turn to us after his success, pump his fist in the air and then be off. That moment is ours. His grace is astounding.

Ten years ago, I'd hold this boy in the crook of my arm, his tiny bottom rested in my palm, and we'd sit there for hours and stare at one another. I was mesmerized by him. I never wanted to let him go, not even when the tears I didn't even realize were coming from me would land in a splatter on his little cheek. I knew I'd never have the opportunity to have these first experiences with him again, so I wanted them locked away in my heart. Today, I couldn't lift him if I tried. He nearly bumps into my chin when he stands near me, and trying to coerce a hug or kiss out of him is a game he likes to play, complete with a smirk. Instead, we've worked out a secret handshake. But when he thinks he's getting away with just that, I'll move in for a quick peck on the cheek. He tends to dramatically wipe them off, but he's always smirking.

This boy is fearless, a trait I never fail to be astounded by. Last year, he had to give his first presentation before his class. Not wanting my own insecurities to crowd any he may be feeling, I simply encouraged him to practice his speech with me, and told him that if it made him nervous, I wouldn't attend the teacher's invitation to stop by class on the day he was to speak. He assured me heartily that I should be there. When his name was called, I watched this boy - all skinny arms and legs - pop out of his seat, step confidently to the front of the room, look out at his classmates and then speak. Loudly. Clearly. Never once referring to his notes. Better than anything we'd practiced at home. Again, not wanting to embarrass him, I refrained from having my heart burst across his classroom, but he caught my 'thumbs up' and later let me hug him (in front of people, even!) before leaving. At that moment, I wanted that feeling of confidence in life that I could see he had.

My son is compassionate and caring. He wants you to be happy, and will do whatever he must to assure it. He so wants to know everything, even when the learning process challenges him to the point of frustration. We're alike in these traits. When I tell him that, he sits up and wants to know what it was like for me as a kid. And he listens when I tell him. Really listens. These charming features of his personality are going to be huge draws as he gets older and starts to look at girls as more than just someone to ride bikes with. In fact, he's already starting to attract little nests of giggly girls who swarm around him when we go swimming. I'm bracing for the reality that in a couple of years, every time the telephone rings, it won't always be for me or my husband.

My son is rather delighted to now be officially in the 'double digit' age bracket. The way I see it, though, is how the numbers that come up and push him closer to being independent of us are now in the single digits. When I bombarded people with my own questions about being a parent before his arrival, they told me it would go by quickly, but I sat there and would hold him and thought it was impossible.

Now I tell people the same thing when asked what it's like to be a parent. It'll go by fast. One day you're holding this beautiful baby and it seems like time has stopped, and next thing you know, you're looking square in the eyes of your child as they suddenly trip into you, all gangly and growing up.

Sometimes that's the only question I have an honest answer for.



Blogger Nanette said...

Sniff, sniff. Can't talk. Beautiful beautiful beautiful beautiful boy! :D


Friday, August 17, 2007 4:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. Brace yourself, he's about to hit the accelerator!

Friday, August 17, 2007 7:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again I am reminded why it is that coming here is on of the first things i do everyday. Simply beautiful.

Friday, August 17, 2007 9:21:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Awww, Nan, there you go, bustin' the Lennon lyrics on us. . . (not, of course, that I didn't think of exactly the same thing, roughly during the second paragraph. . .)

I knew it, tho - this is a mommy blog! No denyin' it, DKG; you can do all the Weird Al, U2, and funnel-cake posts you want, but your eyes only really light up when you're talkin' 'bout yer boys.

And good enough for you, my dear.

I've spent many a quiet moment looking at one or another of my kids, wondering how such a marvel could possibly have been made of such meager raw material as I had to contribute (fortunately for them, Molly's DNA seems to be a tad more robust. . .)

And, just so you know, they never do slow down; if anything, the next ten years will go by even faster. . .

Beautiful post. Just beautiful.

Friday, August 17, 2007 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

I'm with Desmond, you are *totally* a mommyblogger. It's okay, I'll let it slide.

And he looks JUST like you! Well, at least he looks a lot like the dozen pictures of you that you've sent to me each day for the last 6 months. What, was that supposed to be secret? Nevermind then. I won't even talk about my "FADKOG Scrapbook."

I can't give him any tips on layups, but if he needs to know proper dunking technique, tell him to give me a call.

If he calls me Coach Dale, he can be my Jimmy Chitwood.

Friday, August 17, 2007 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got me all misty eyes, and I'm just a mere Mommy wannabe. Kudos to you for raising him into a well rounded inquisitive independent charming little boy. May he always feel your love. And may you always receive his back.


Friday, August 17, 2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger JUnderCovers said...

Oh, you're really pulling my Daddy strings here! Mrs. J is going to be very upset that you're helping to convince me to breed! :)

Friday, August 17, 2007 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...


Friday, August 17, 2007 2:06:00 PM  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

Oh that was the sweetest post! Happy Birthday to your very handsome young man. He's lucky to have such a wonderful caring, loving mom!

Friday, August 17, 2007 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

Happy birthday to your little guy whose not really so little anymore.

It sucks they grow up so fast...

It's okay that you're a mommyblogger too [as they said up there] sometimes that's what we do and who we are...

Saturday, August 18, 2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Choppzs said...

I was trying to avoid all this due to the fact that Girly will be 10 in Sept. too! I relate so closely to all the things you say, only switching to a girl, and find myself tearing up. She was my first. She is my only girl. She's going to be "double digits" (she says that too) and the boys are already coming around. She's telling me about the boys she likes and why she likes them. I am thankful she has such a wonderful daddy to teach her what and how a man should treat her. Gosh, I can't write anymore, I am blubbering as it is! Great post!

Saturday, August 18, 2007 1:47:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Nan - The boy is charming and gorgeous. Not quite sure how we pulled that off! Thank you...

XI - Thank you! He's already kicking at the tires, walking around life slow and admiring it, ready to tear off. I'm so not ready...

Finished - Aw! Very sweet. Seriously. I mean it.

So I shouldn't sully the sentiment by telling you I make a couple other stops first thing in the a.m. Alas, I've blown it!

Honestly. Thank you for your kindness!

Desmond - Thank you, too, mister. And OK, fine! You figured me out! I'm a mommy blogger. But trust me! My eyes light up when I think about things other than my boys.

Things like my pretend husbands. Dolphins. My gurls out there. All you cute boys who come around.

Not so much Weird Al, though, but respect to him.

FTN - Thanks for spilling it to the world that I've been spending the last six months plying you with pictures of me! It's cute, though, the way you do save them and tape them to the walls of your hidden lair and write haikus about me. Let's pretend we don't know this about each other when I have you over to teach my son the fine art of dunking.

On your way out, I'll slip you another photo, though.

Terry - Aw, thanks for your kindness! It's finally struck me that we're not doing too shabby a job with our boys when someone outside the family remarked the other day about how gracious our oldest is, and how he never complains about things. I think he's got it down now!

J - Truly one of the best things you can ever do. If you have the means, it rocks!

Good to see you here, too, btw!

Kelly - Thank you!

Stacie - I think I'm pretty lucky to have a boys who are as mine are. Heh...one day, hopefully, they'll figure out they're just as lucky to have me! Thanks for your always kind words!

Kimmyk - I wonder if there are uniforms for mommybloggers. Pink Lady style jackets, perhaps. I think that would rock hard. And I want a cool nickname, too, if such could be the case.

Thanks for the bday wishes!

Choppzs - It's unfortunately true what they say, how you can't avoid the inevitable. Your daughter is a doll face, and so lucky to have the influence of a dad such as your husband. If the kids are free in a few years, I'm sure my son will be thinking of girls as more interesting than bike riding buddies sooner rather than later!

Monday, August 20, 2007 12:51:00 AM  

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