My son Ben and I have been away together on vacation, exploring the Four Corners region, for a bit more than a week.
He's changed so much since that first night I held him in the hospital, a time when we were also alone, together.
He's slowly becoming the man he'll be, rattling the bars of childhood, and gently/respectfully growing away/apart from me and his mother.
You were a handful that first night ... just.
I held you and you held me, with those tiny fingers of yours.
I worried needlessly/foolishly/dramatically that your mother had died in the other room, that we'd be alone, and I'd screw you up; she was fine, and we've screwed you up, all of us together, like everyone does.
At first you were nothing but poop and noise and warmth and need; I could manage all of those.
As you grew and changed, so did your needs ... those changes challenged and frightened, me. I couldn't satisfy them with a bottle or bandaid or a hug, although I tried.
I wanted and tried and failed to protect you from sadness and injury and disappointment in the first years of your life ... it's a parent's, or at least my, curse. Nothing grows strong in a vacuum, though, and luckily or not, the world got past me and at you, and you're on your way ... wherever.
I had some idea that babies became people, but resisted the notion that it would (could) happen to you. You say things, have thoughts and desires, like and dislike food/sports/animals that never would have occurred to me ... it freaks me right out.
I still see myself and your mother in you, but every day there's more of someone else as well.
You're your own being now and I'm terrified that someday he won't need, maybe won't even like, me.
You're not Jamie, not Gail, not a mashup ... you're something new.
New to me, new to the world you're moving through, and most especially, entirely, new to you.
It's awesome. It's terrifying. It's relentless.
The world's never seen anything like you, and I have no doubt that although it's tough being the only Ben some days, I know you're on the right (and only) trail to whoever you'll end up.
You're on the edge/cusp/cliff/shore of who/what you'll be ... not quite me, not quite you, becoming something/someone new.
I'm suspended on the knife's edge of not wanting you to change and frantically feeling for the remote, so I can fast-forward to future-you.
I loved you then, I love you now, I'll love you when you shoot past your current not quiteness into ...