My son is waking up. He is knowing that the world interacts with him and that he has preferences. I have the feeling that he is coming, arriving. I have been with him for seven months, but now I see him knowing what’s up. I can’t fake this father thing much longer. As he does wake up he gives up the sheen of heaven that he came bathed in. Now he takes on the shoddy and earthy layer of a local here on this planet. It is the inevitability of it that is at once sad and wondrous. We don’t get to be here without the tarnish of the place, and seeing that coming down the pike for him raises feelings and questions.
In one sense it is ridiculous to think he is “affected” by the world already. We have shaded him like mighty oaks, but I know that by now many children have tasted the horrors of the world. That he hasn’t is his luck, and I am grateful in my deepest places. He is still so young and perfectly smooth and amazing. His little body is what bodies are meant to be, working perfectly. His hormones put him to sleep for 12 hours at a time and he listens. He just does and is the next moment. This one moment, this one here. Like that.
But as he turns his head to see me walk in the room, I know that he is becoming a part of us (as in all of us here on this spinning dime) and he will gain and lose in that deal and the price of getting one more moment here is that one is, moment by moment, affected. The price of maturity is knowing the difference. I don’t mourn for this for him. I am noticing. I am noticing. It is beautiful and poignant and inevitable. As long we draw breath, I know that he will not do any of it alone, and that is my best gift to him. It is the only gift I have.