Sunday, June 09, 2013

they will see us waving from such great heights

"Come down now," they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away
"Come down now," but we'll stay.

I am often overwhelmed by the significance of pretty mundane and obvious thoughts. My most recent one is this: my children are separate people from me. They have their own lives, marked by private thoughts and feelings and relationships that are real and not fully accessible to me. My first drift of this was when Andrew was 3 and returned home from a playdate, unwilling to divulge what he and his friend had done because it was "a secret." "A secret because he told you it had to be, or because you just want it to be?" "I just want it to be." And a little smile.

I am feeling it again now in similar, otherwise banal moments, like when I drop Porter off at his little preschool and watch him walk hand in hand with a teacher who knows him and loves him, away from me to a separate activity I won't totally know about with people who know him on his own terms and not through me. He talks about Miss Jess and Miss Willa and Misbah in a casual way that underscores that these people populate his life in a way they do not mine.

Maybe these obvious reflections are meaningful to me especially now as I take care of a new baby, whose every moment is totally known to me, who has no life or identity that I am not part of or do not witness. It won't be long before this is no longer true.

I have been thinking about my kids' relationships with each other, and how those are at least as important right now as is theirs with me, and how over time those ties will become more important. That one day they will only have each other. As strange and sad as it is to watch the natural and appropriate development of separateness slowly progress, I do love the idea of the boys doing it together. When I was looking at these photos of them climbing trees, the lyrics to the song above came to mind and I liked the idea of them up there together, without me. Even if I am on the outside, part of the "they" urging them to come down now, I am gratified that they are resisting me, experiencing a minor adventurous rebellion, together.


Jamie said...

Such a good, thought-provoking post.

Ashley said...

The bottem line is that you are an exponentially more thoughtful person than I am. I see the kids run off to school and am immediately consumed by what I will be doing in the next reduced-kid hours. I only know this is true, that they really are their own people, because I remember being a real person at that age. In some ways it's liberating--we are not solely to blame if they don't turn out. Also, there is nothing better than boy in a tree.