Tomorrow, the Boy starts first grade. Today was an exciting day for him: We went to the school's open house, took in his supplies, and met his teacher. She's wonderful, and has a brother who experienced some of the challenges the Boy faces. She wasn't actually the teacher we'd been told he'd be placed with, which freaked me right out at first, but now I'm thrilled. Chalk one up for divine intervention.
He's having a difficult time getting to bed lately, and tonight especially. So I cuddled with him and sang him some songs. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", which the Chica got him hooked on one night when she babysat; "Danny Boy", which I've sung to him since he was a baby, swinging him back and forth in his carrier; "Michelle", which I sing to his sister all the time.
"Mama," he blurted out. "Mama. I don't want to grow up. Why do I have to grow up?"
I told him that everyone grows up, but that lots of people choose to stay kids in their hearts.
"But I want to stay a little kid always, until I'm a hundred and five," he said, near tears. "Honey," I whispered, "you won't need to worry about growing up for quite a while. You've got a long time still to be a little kid."
I think we both knew I was lying.
"And," I added, "no matter what, you'll always be my kid."
He hugged me tight. "And you'll always be my mama," he choked out.
"Yes, honey. I'll always be your mama. And you'll always, always be my baby."
And then I sang him the song I used to sing before he was born, while I walked, while I sat, while I worried about my marriage, while he zoomed around inside me like some misplaced comet. I still don't know much, but I know that I love him, that Boy of mine, and that even through all the hard parts, he loves me, too.