26.10.2011 87 °F
Sometimes, in a completely normal moment, my son will get the giggles. All at once, he will bust out into the sweetest laugh, and it will accelerate into full-blown hysterics. At first, I look at him with total bewilderment, not having any idea what is so funny. Then I cannot help but join in to laughing with him, because his laugh is completely contagious, and the innocence of his laugh is magical. It happened today as I was holding him for his nap...his eyes are closing, everything is quiet, only the calming ocean sounds of our ipod and the whirr of the fan, and then his eyes pop open and he giggles wildly. Head tilted back, mouth open: A big belly laugh. Then just as quickly as it began it lulls, and we are again settling into our sleep routine. But I am left with a poignant truth to ponder: he is his own being.
This is of course obvious to everyone but me, who still sometimes thinks (and perhaps secretly hopes) that we are still attached in some way. But he is himself. And in these days when his personality is blossoming second by second, it is getting more and more clear that he is becoming a unique being: with likes and dislikes, attitudes, emotions, ideas, and expressions. As we move on from the baby months, he no longer laughs just because I am laughing, or smiles because I like something. He laughs when he wants to laugh. Finds things funny that I have no idea about, decides he wants to do one activity over another. I still expect him to do things that I want, to go to the pool when I want to go, and am surprised when we get there, and he is walking back to the house instead, shaking his little head, no, no.
The other day Bodhi & I were walking down the path from our home to the car. I usually take his hand, so that he can run fast and not fall. But this time, he pushed my hand away. He wanted to do it himself. I found myself both proud and sad as i watched him run down the slope of the pathway himself. I am willing him not to fall, walking quickly so he doesn't get too far ahead, and I can get there to stop him before he runs into the street. But then he stopped at the bottom of the path, turned around and called, "Momma, Momma!" as if to say, 'look what I did!'
I find myself increasingly emotional when I think about or see images of children growing up. The other day, we were watching the TV show Modern Family (Excellent, by the way), when the father Phil brings his teenage daughter to look at prospective colleges. He allows her to go off with some other students to a party on campus, acting very cool and relaxed, and later admits he was tracking her cell phone gps, and shows up at the party to make sure she is OK. She says to him: "How are you going to handle me going off to college next year if you can't even trust me enough to let me go to this party alone?" I recognize the truth, the fear, and the total lack of control that one has as their children grow up and I started to cry. "That will be Bodhi someday!", I tell my husband who is visibly rolling his eyes. "You have 16 years". But still, I can see it coming down the road, my need to let him go, and every step we take brings us closer to his full independence.