When he was born, he was the mirror image of his daddy.
Now his eyes match mine.
Weeks of soccer camp made the fuzz at his hairline the familiar white I see in my childhood photographs.
When he says something silly, the same subtle dimple peeks from our right cheeks.
He is changing.
I was seven years old when my family moved to a new town. Most of my memories of that summer are of me sitting on the cement front steps of that tiny house, thinking, wondering, worrying.
Seven is the time when many of us begin to feel the invisible things more tangibly.
I was aware of how alone I was. No real friends. Secrets that I could talk to no one about, and the ones who could read them in my wide eyes or bruised scalp weren’t saying anything.
Loss was rich.
Observations made my pulse volley.
Questions filled the blackness of night as I lay in bed, hearing the click of the minutes moving forward without answers.
I wonder, as I witness my 7yo son seeing everything in new detail as he goes through this stage of change, will he be as much like me on the inside as he is becoming on the outside?
Will he have my blonde hair and my struggle with understanding motives?
Will he have my blue eyes and my frustration that I can’t fix the broken people around me?
Will he have my long legs and difficulty in understanding the games people play?
Or will he roll with the punches?
Will he be able to let go of the pain people cause, and simply enjoy the moments in between?
Will he feel as alone as I was, even when surrounded by others?
Or will he be able to loosen his shoulders to laugh often, even to himself?
Yes, my kids are coming up in a completely different environment than I did. But I believe some parts of us are innate. We are born with them, and then can’t help but pick others up from our parents.
I wish I could cherry-pick the parts of me I give my kids.
I wish I could take this emotionally charged time for my changing boy, the few years before puberty when the mind opens wide before the kid is ready to handle so many truths, and buffer it some.
Make it hurt less. Make less downs. Harness the ups.
Take the parts of me that strengthened as I got older, and give them to him now.
I wish I could take my inability to give a shit when people made fun of me, bullied me, peer pressured me, were clear they hated me for whatever reason, and tuck it inside his heart.
I wish I could take my ability to distract myself when things got hard, when I felt things so real they practically split my skin, and tuck it inside his belly.
I wish I could take my ability to quickly see all sides of a situation, my mind gaining a practical grasp on it that would tide me over when Life got confusing, and tuck it inside his head.
But I can’t.
I know he’s watching me.
I’m trying to do right by him.
I have my issues, I know I do. If I can raise my kids only half as screwed up as I am, then I will have done well.
So I look at what he’s getting from me, inside and out. And I hope. I work. I pray. I talk. I explain. I show.
I remember all the things that lonely, quiet, over-thinking 7yo girl wished for all those years ago, as she sat on the steps of her tiny new home, wondering Why did they do that to me? Does anyone else feel this way? Where will I go from here?
I try to help him understand that if he trusts himself, he’ll be okay.
But if the questions ever get too hard or he loses his way inside his own head, he will always, always, have me to remind him of everything he deserves.