I have loved my son since the day he was born. Loved him so deeply and fiercely that sometimes it takes my breath away. Every day in so many ways, it continues to amaze me. He is always changing. I remember when he was just a tiny baby at two months old. That was him. I could not conceptualize that he would ever change, and when a savvy co-worker gave me 12months and 2T outfits for a shower I panicked. Those clothes were so big and foreign. Would he still be adorable? Would he be a stranger? How could he ever change so much? How would I ever know enough to handle such a giant? Granted I was sleep deprived at the time and rather fragile, but the concerns were real even if the fears were over the top.
Drop in six odd years later and I have come to terms with a few things. My son will grow, and change, and still be magic in my eyes. Some time frames will be good, some time frames will be bad, and we will get through it all with love and life in tact. That said I am feeling a bit of that old panic tonight.
Tonight was golden. The evening of Father's Day. I worked all day and the boys had some marvelous adventures. When I got home I took our son off Daddy's hands, and took him for a river swim. We met up with boating friends who all managed to spawn at the same time. All of different ages, situations, and locales, four families ended up with kiddos traveling the same grade, and we meet up every season or more for various adventures. Tonight it was taking the kids "swimming" at a bend in the Knife River, a quiet Northwoods spot, not well traveled or much disturbed. It was the perfect spot for a kindergarten adventure. They do not need to go far to find adventure. Being out of sight of the car, and away from the trail is a thrill. Crossing calf deep water running mildly down rapids was enough for each of them to cling and squeal. Once we got to the pool with some currant at the far side I took to ferrying the little tykes across a six foot section of chest deep water (for them) so each could scramble up near the cliff wall. They would stand dripping and proud, looking about with big eyes, deciding if they wanted to jump back into my arms or just take a hand and try to flounder across. It was exciting and heart pounding, for kids and adults. I found myself counting them over and over as we all spread out a bit, making sure the ducklings were safe. They are still small enough to need that, and they stay close enough for it to be possible. Not a one strong enough or confident enough to really swim or duck dive in the four feet deep moving water. Moving lazily in the pool, but still moving, and absolutely impossible to see through. All my old lifeguard skills perked up. And I was busy with fun too.
There was much ferrying, but also spins through the water, assisted jumps straight out of the water, traverses below mini-rapids, and piggybacks across the stones. The little ones are still so tactile. There was Alex, his best buddy from school Lily, Carver a little blondie, and Elaina the peanut. Too excited to talk, mostly they would just flounder over and point or gesture where, or what. They are not quite up to my chest, so my height was a big advantage for their swimming experience. Plus I was one of the first parents in so I didn't mind getting soaked in the play. We caught the last of the afternoon sun as we got in the first river swim of the year. Alex loved it, and I see lots of potential for river or creek swims yet this summer. Tomorrow is the solstice, and we are just getting started.
And then there is Pooh. Alex likes to say, "Oh, bother.", when something does not go right, and he often talks about Pooh, and Piglet, and Eeyore. He wants to know what will happen if he gets blown by the wind when holding onto a string, or if there are Woozles or Heffalumps under the bed. Sometimes he even says, "Tiddley pom", or "Tut tut, looks like rain.". Often he says, "Mama, I am rumbly in my tumbly." And his little friends are right there too. They are in the age of discovery, wondering at the Hundred Acre Woods. Innocent as Pooh, scared as Piglet, brave as Tigger. I saw it in their faces on the river. Their joy at being there, their dawning realization of the wider world. Excitement at the splash of water and miracle of swimming skills. And their exhaustion at the end of the short adventure. The help needed with wet suits and tired emotions. The little hands seeking out mom or dad, needing steadiness and strength, wanting warmth and security. The adventure wrapped up with kids bouncing about in their orbits, and parents making plans. Then we all parted ways and it was me and my Alex. My wonderful, innocent, Pooh loving Alex. And this is where the panic comes in. I love this age so much I fear the future, where he will not have Pooh as his hero. When he leaves behind Piglet and takes up with Mario, or a Power Ranger, or something worse. I wonder if I am destined to be always missing the Age of Pooh. I wonder if he will change into something totally different as he grows. I wonder if the real world will tarnish him in a way the Hundred Acre Woods never could. I wonder if I will be able to keep him safe once he's too big to need to hold my hand. That is exactly when the world gets it's most dangerous.
But for now he is still in my safe keeping. I keep a weather eye on him, as do all the other good big people in his life. I am loving all our adventures, and really do look forward to him growing up so we can go further, and faster, with just as much fun. Maybe I will get lucky. Maybe he will always have a soft spot for the silly old bear. Maybe the world will keep him as safe as I want him to be. Maybe he will have more good judgment than I ever had. Maybe the older me will discover like the younger one did, this panic too shall pass.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
So, I am off a running. Well, not actually running, or even half-assed running. I am into my training schedule for walking. Just completed a nine mile walk along Lake Superior. Actually reversed the marathon route that will be clogged with runner types in two days. A nice cool and windy morning with some actual sun, all is going well so far. This is my biggest day, I did six miles yesterday. Next week I will do nine miles and nine miles back to back. I was out for three hours, and this is where the real work begins. For an hour or two I can amuse myself with my own brain, and my feet and joints don't protest too much. Past two hours, however, it all becomes a bit more challenging. I become bored with myself and whatever I am mulling over, and my feets and joints start to comment on things. Plus I did it all on pavement today. Pound, pound, pound. My team that I am walking with at the big event in August are all in the Cities, and I am not great at pre-planning to get friends out there with me. So I better get more friendly with myself, or prepare for some good fights between my will power and my whining brain. I suppose this is the time to learn to use the MP3 player. Overall it is going well. Four weeks of training down, eight to go. The final goal is the Three Day Breast Cancer Walk, for sixty total miles. Guess I'm on my way!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Best day ever on Sunday. Kayaked with Alex and Lily, the girl who swears she will marry him. Kevin paddled them down the Louie in the duckie, a four hour whitewater run. The rest of us parents played safety boaters and photographers. Oh for the day they paddle on their own! My love affair with rivers continues and I am totally pumped and energized, even two days later. Ahhhhhh, back to the river... what could be finer? And now we have the ducky I can take anyone who wants to come! Any takers???