Thursday, February 08, 2007

Standing next to the boat

I've been thinking about the way we lose them, our children, I mean --about the way some days I go into my son's room, and there is another boy there, someone more lank, who can--as if the skill snuck into him in the night--read words and share with his brother, someone who refuses to eat carrots. And I have this sad longing for the other boy, a sort of cocktail of regret and relief: so glad he's learned this next thing, so sorry I wasn't kinder to him before he did--longing, I think, for the chance to be with him in his other state like I could be now that I see it really will have an end.

It's something like that thing of slogging across the river in order to get to the boat you needed to get yourself across the river.

But I can't seem to see the end of these stretches of not-getting-there that he passes through--until he's on the other side, and I have, just by waiting for the hard thing to pass, missed something. Missed the chance to be the one who would be sturdy and kind enough to love him real well while he wasn't anywhere he needed to be yet.

And maybe that's why I like to sing--to celebrate those other moments behind me, those other boys behind me.

Like standing there next to the boat, pants wet and all, and singing back across the river to him--singing loud so hear can hear me.

1 comment:

Puttermeister said...


I think you're right--the reason you sing is the reason we all do so many of the things we do. Because we want to do it better for someone else, because now we know.

And in that way, you are very like your son, don't you think? Learning as you go, using what you've learned when you can, however you can.

This touched me. It really, truly did.