A Hand to Hold
“Oh, what beautiful children you have! Do tell me their names.”
Go on, boys, tell the nice lady your names.
“I’m Hold On.”
“And, my name is Gimme a Second.”
Oh, these boys of mine, always joking around. This is Luca. And, this little guy here is my youngest, Leo.
* * *
Okay, okay, so this didn’t actually happen.
But, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.
I spend more days than I should phoning it in, and putting the unimportant before my most important.
Give me just a second, while I reply to this tweet.
Hold still for a minute, honey, so I can capture this moment instead of participate in it…you know, for my blog.
I tell myself they’re still too young to know better, but that’s a lie. Just because they’re not able to articulate it doesn’t mean they don’t feel it.
Somehow, though, they always seem to forgive me, but I’m trying to shape up before they get any older.
* * *
Sweet boys of mine,
I’m still learning everyday how to be your mother.
I try hard to be the best, but I still mess up more than you deserve.
I’m not perfect, and I’ll never pretend to be. But, I’ll always apologize to you when I’ve done wrong. Even tiny-sized children deserve adult-sized respect.
You’re not perfect, either, and I won’t pretend you are. In fact, I want you to know just how imperfect you are. Because, we all are, and isn’t it lovely?
I cherish that I’m getting to know you at the same time you’re getting to know yourself. And, that you’re getting to know me at the same time I’m still getting to know myself.
The complicated journey of self-discovery has just started for you. And, there’s no final destination, just little pit-stops along the way.
I wish I could tell you it’s easy, this growing up stuff, but it’s not. It’s incredibly hard. Never let anyone discount that or minimize it.
You’ll try on a million different hats until you find the one that fits, which will probably end up being the very first one you tried on.
You’ll question who you are often and, when you don’t like the answer, you’ll try to be someone different.
And, that’s okay, we all do it.
But, me? I’ll never question who you are. I’ll only love you, all of you, even the parts you hate. And, when you’re pretending to be someone different, I’ll be here to guard those parts and keep them safe. Because, trust me, one day you’ll want them back.
As your mother, I’m looking forward to so many milestones.
I can picture them now…
I’ll sit on the sidelines and cheer loudly for my baseball all-star. Or, sit in the front row, and silently pull for my ballerina.
I’ll watch in awe at how fearlessly you take on life, attacking it head-on. Or, the way you cautiously approach it, preferring to get your toes wet before diving in.
I’ll talk loud on how brilliantly academic you are, and how effortlessly you earn perfect marks in every subject. Or, the way you put in your all, and study day and night to raise that D to a C.
I’ll beam with pride at how outgoing and confident you are when you walk into a room, and how much you relish the spotlight. Or, at how incredibly shy you are, comforted most by shadows and shining your brightest when no one’s looking.
I’ll stand proudly by your side the day you find God. Or, the day you find you don’t believe in him.
I’ll leap for joy when you find your wife. Or, your husband. Or, the day you decide you don’t want either.
I’ll cry tears of happiness when you finally make me a grandmother to a bouncing baby girl. Or, stray cat. Or, a Chia Pet.
I’ll embarrass you often, bragging to everyone about my handsome, wealthy, heart surgeon of a son. Or, my broke, starving, artist of a man. Or, my hardworking, honest custodian.
For, you see, it’s simple.
The only thing I expect of you is to choose what makes you happy, independent of what’s considered the norm or what makes others happy.
It’s not your job to live for anyone, especially not for me.
But, it is my job to live for you.
And, because I take this job very seriously, I’ll do things that you won’t understand sometimes.
Like pushing you to take chances on things that terrify you.
Or, stepping back and letting you fall.
I won’t try to fix everything for you. It’s not my place. But, I will always be close by to pick you up and dust you off.
I expect you to be kind, to defend those that are weak, and try to make the world a little better than you found it, any chance you get.
I’ll take you out of your comfort zone, and expose you to things and people that are different from you. I refuse to let you miss out on diversity and all the beauty it brings.
I’ll tell you incessantly to be grateful for all you that have, then remind you that none of it makes you better than those who have-not.
I’ll push you to be gracious and generous. And, not for praise or the expectation of something in return, only because it’s the right thing to do.
You’ll see all of this as nagging, and you’ll roll your eyes and stop your feet and slam your door in my face.
Sometimes you won’t like me, and you’ll tell me so. You may even tell me how much you hate me.
But, don’t worry, it’s a rite of passage, and I’ve already forgiven you. There’s nothing you can say or do to make me love you less.
Life is unpredictable, and ever-changing. With the good comes the bad, and with the happy, the sad. But, there’s one thing that will always remain constant.
I’ll always be here to hold your hand.
Even when you’re trying to let go.