Monday, January 25, 2010

Fourteen

Fourteen years ago, I held you in my arms and gazed out a window as snow drifted down amongst the rainbow twinkles of Christmas lights.

The strains of "Silent Night" played in the background.

So this is how Mary felt, I thought. Minus the wise men and the barn. I remember looking at your face and wondering what the heck I was supposed to do with you. Me? They are giving ME a baby? Shouldn't I be licensed or something, or at least take a class? How the hell am I supposed to know what to do with this tiny screaming bundle that leaks?

Fourteen. How does time go by so quickly? One minute you were a chubby cheeked baby who loved to chew on your toes; I blinked, and now you are this tall, deep voiced teenager talking dating and girls.

I catch my breath when I realize that in five years, you'll be considered an adult. Five years is nothing. A blip in the span of time. To you, it's an eternity away; to me, it's so frighteningly close that I catch my breath.

Today here you are, curled up sound asleep on the couch in front of the fireplace wrapped in an afghan, and I can still see traces of the chubby cheeked, blond baby who used to use my jeans to pull himself up, and then nip at the backs of my legs to get my attention. The sharp pieces of lego on the floor, Hot Wheels tucked into my purse, and how you would never go to sleep with out your fuzzy black stuffed doggie.

Fourteen. So grown up that it's a bit frightening, but then you revert back to your little kid self and for a split second, you're nine again. The lego sits untouched under the bed, you have packed away your Hot Wheels for your future kids, and the well worn stuffed dog now sits on your head board. I'm not sure I'm ready for this either; the dating, learning to drive, molding you into the man that you will grow up to be. How could the Gods trust me with a teenager?

Me? The one who never experimented with anything as a teen? Who never drank, rebelled, smoked pot, or even stayed out past curfew, not even once? How am I going to know what to do?

You smile in your sleep and suddenly I realize that it doesn't matter; how much I knew, and how prepared I was, NEVER mattered. I didn't know anymore then about babies than I do now about teenagers.

Well, not really. There is one thing I do know now.

That fierce, blinding love that grips me; that Mama bear instinct to protect you even though you are larger than I am, the complete, unconditional love that I have for you...

..that's all I'll ever need.

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