While smores fixings sit on the table waiting to be eaten after running across our first rattlesnake, we read under the stars that have yet to show themselves to us tonight, the same stars that as a family, we will sleep under soon, and without shelter, just as I did in the wild a month and a half ago.
I walk behind Nolan and realize that without trying, we are now both on the same chapter of Beautiful Boy, a father’s story of his son’s addiction [when we decided this would be Nolan’s next life homework read, I ended up giving him the book I was reading and bought the audio version to finish it (Josh just started the book and is reading it on his iPad)].
I find both this moment and my boy, beautiful. This year and these days/this last month, with high school starting soon, I find myself watching him longer, recognizing more the man in him than the boy and feeling his independence ~ the quiet and healthy space between us that still fits so much of the closeness created in the wonder years.
I feel excitement! I keep telling him how FUN high school is and I see his eyes widen (though he doesn’t know anyone in his freshman class, it’s not nerves he feels, he says, but excitement, I’m proud and happy to hear that).
At the same time, I also feel sad ~ sad that a long (13-14 year) season of another kind of young boy connection and physical closeness is shifting. I’m learning a new way…
And it’s the biggest shift yet in the way we’ve known one another, not just me knowing him, but, to my surprise, him knowing me, too, as his comment after my nine day vision quest shares so sweetly: “I’m proud of you Mama. Over the last year or so, I’ve realized that you’re more than just my Mama.”
This was one of my favorite moments, realizations, truths (and embraces) of all time, and I understand that this new chapter in his life, and me continuing to see HIM as more than MY son, will be, too.
I want so much for his safety and joy in this next season of life and realize deeply today as I write this how much this is his job more than mine, especially in the years to come in high school and college etc.
I can continue to have open conversations with him which we both enjoy (I do get to be more creative now though, as parents of growing humans understand), create “rules” or guidelines that play at keeping him safe, but his choices are part of this ~ his life.
That’s exciting! I tell him. You get to continue to feel into who you truly are and express that person, choosing life at your speed and in just the way you want.
He seems happy about that, each time I mention it in new and slightly different ways (ode again to being creative in how you discuss, open and close things with humans at this age).
I was here for your dependence and I’m also present, as available and excited for your independence, I say, as I swallow with more water in my eyes than in my throat…
In the background of these conversations with him, I more deeply understand how much more the guidance (and the letting go!) really steps up in these years (read: if we thought we were needing to be available, present and guiding them (or letting go!) in the toddler years, we see and feel a whooooole new level now.
And it IS a whole new level now.
IIIII am the toddler! Learning how to walk and talk.
How can I express my love (and my trust in him that we can have the deeper, more adult or tougher conversations) as well as the desire to continue to be close in the ways where HE will most feel it?
That’s the question.
How can we continue to grow this human to human relationship, recognizing that mother and son has just been one way to describe it?
How can I love him by letting him go?
These are the questions, my own present life homework and next quest for truth. . .
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