I am only allowing myself ten minutes here tonight because the boy has been asleep nearly two hours which means I have two hours left, tops, before he first wakes up. I’ve been lying on the couch reading Divergent because young adult fiction is my version of watching reruns of The Golden Girls.
Also, I need to go look at the boy’s face. How long does this ache last? How does a mother ever let her child go off and do anything? He is not allowed to ever attempt to climb Everest. But in order for him to not want to, I’ll have to make sure to act like it would be no big deal. The defiance gene.
Our neighbor’s son is about to go to college, and he is surly and withdrawn like I remember myself being on hungover Sundays at the museum. (If I could only give back to my mother and grandmother every hour I was an asshole.) I am very sure his first year of college is going to entail a lot of inebriation. He barely nods hello at us when we pass, and I know we don’t register to him, me and B. and the boy. He has no manners. I remember being that wrapped up in myself. One night this winter B. and I were up late on the couch–ah yes, it was the night before the city snow day–and we saw out the window this same boy coming home alone in the lamplit snow. Instead of walking he was sliding, one foot after the other, like half a waltz, dancing his way up and down the sidewalk, delaying his exit from the snowy night. The next morning, I made muffins, and was disappointed when the sun came out. I wanted the storm to keep on. And I was pregnant then, imagining being a mother and making pancakes for my kid on their future snow days.
B. and I decided to extend our trip, and we’re going to be driving far north of the city. All of this seemed like a great idea when we booked our nights, but now I’m picturing the boy’s face and wondering if really we just need to tuck in and not go anywhere and keep cuddled up and cozy right here where we are; where we’ve spent most of the last two months. Our borders are expanding again; taking the boy further and further afield. When I go to bed in a minute, I’m going to first stand next to him and put my hand on his chest to make sure he’s breathing. It’s the first transition into sleep that is the hardest for me, and the moment when the lamp first goes off, taking him just that little bit out of my sight.
It’s been longer than ten minutes. Didn’t get to my discussion of bras yet. Bras and how to keep the boy always safe. Some fool on the street is playing music way too loud and I want to block out all the stupid noises of a day that might disturb him. I give drivers the evil eye quite a lots these days; bikers too, and resist the urge to kick over the Tour de Brooklyn bikers racing around the park. And then sometimes the boy wakes up crying like he’s had a bad dream and there’s literally nothing I could have done to prevent it. So I hold him and we bounce and he sleeps some more until the next need or fear wakes him and I bounce some more and on and on we go. And on and on we will go.