Monday, June 8, 2009
Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait to see you to come of age.
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient,
Yes, it's a long way to go...
Fifteen years ago, after nine months and two extra weeks, a doctor put a little baby in my arms and I had an epiphany.
I had previously merely scratched the surface of love.
My son's arrival helped me understand the saying "I thought my heart would burst." Surely no mother had ever felt the way I did. It was incredible.
I get all blubbery at some movies. Not just the ones about romance and loss; the ones about a parent's love for their child always has me reaching for the tissue box. Mr. Holland's Opus is one of those films. I loved Richard Dreyfuss from the moment I saw him in The Goodbye Girl, (okay, technically, I saw him in American Graffiti and Jaws first, but he was AWESOME in TGG) and he gave a wonderful performance as Mr. Holland, a music teacher with a deaf son. Some kindly soul has put this movie on youtube, so you can watch my favorite bit. Go watch it and come back. I'll wait for you.
I love that song, Beautiful Boy. Lennon wrote it as a love song to his son with Yoko Ono, Sean. Sean was born on John's 35th birthday in 1975. John took a hiatus from his music career to stay at home with his son. In November of 1980. he came out of retirement to release Beautiful Boy as part of his Double Fantasy album. Less than a month later, John was murdered.
Before you cross the street,
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans.
This summer, I plan to take my son to Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park. He may be almost six feet tall, with an ever-deepening voice, but I'll likely still hold his hand as we cross the street. After all, it's a big city, full of crazy cab drivers! I'm just joking about the hand holding; I've no desire to be one of this sort of mother. But he might grab my hand or my daughter's just to make sure we're safe, because he is protective of me and his sister. His heart is extremely loving. He's not a mama's boy, but he is caring about other people.
We'll go to places like:
• the Natural History Museum, where I'll be reminded of his love of science and clever mind as he makes observations about the many exhibits and references things he has learned already.
• the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he'll undoubtedly study many works carefully and get excited about several, wishing aloud that he could someday draw or paint as well, and shake his head dismissively when his father and I assure him that he is already an excellent artist. (He really is.)
• wonderful little bakeries and delis and small restaurants that serve unusual foods from around the world, which he'll try and enjoy with enthusiasm. He loves good cooking and is not afraid to try new things. He's careful not to overeat or eat unhealthy junk. My son appreciates a simple meal of bread and cheese as much as a feast of crab legs and steak. He likes his chocolate dark, his bratwurst with sauerkraut, and his escargot with garlic and butter. Regardless of what we feed him, he's appreciative.
We'll take him and his sister to a play or two, which they will enjoy immensely and talk about for weeks afterward. He will ask me if I really think he could be good enough to be a professional actor some day. Yes, I do think so. He will enter high school next year, and has registered for drama class. He has a quick wit and can dissect a scene to find just the right intonation or gesture to convey an emotion.
We'll visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, where he will proclaim his love for his country and gratitude that his ancestors came here. He simultaneously loves Stephen Colbert's political satire, and he also genuinely feels a deep patriotism for America. He's mindful of the nation's problems and wants to be politically involved to help lead his fellow citizens to greatness. His compassion for the underdogs in our society and rejection of greed and dishonesty convince me he'd be a fine leader.
We'll undoubtedly hear some music, even if it's not in a concert hall. The streets of big cities are filled with buskers. My children love to stop and listen, and buy the performer's CD to enjoy later, or if they don't have one, at least drop a dollar in the hat. My son will listen to someone play a piece and then despair that he will never be as good. He's been playing violin for about 7 years, and often picks out a piece just by hearing it once, without music. He can hear a song and figure it out on our piano. He plays brilliantly, yet he has a severe case of self doubt. I'd like to slip some confidence powder into his morning glass of juice. If you know where I can buy some, let me know.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I adore this child, my firstborn, my beautiful boy.
I rarely post photos of my children on this blog because I want to give them their privacy. But I'm making an exception here to show you just how sweet my boy is. I'm sure most parents have experienced their children falling asleep at a restaurant, and think it's hilarious to take a picture to preserve the moment. This was a few years ago, after a long, wonderful day at Disneyland. Our little guy just laid his tuckered head down on the table. My husband carefully folded his cloth napkin and slipped it under our son's head, then captured the moment.
I am so proud of this boy, and so grateful to be his mother. I love him with all my heart.
Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful