From birth, he has known how to use his dimples to his advantage. I consider him armed & dangerous, by his ability to disarm anyone within sight distance. Had someone told me that he would come out this way, I would have thought, “Well, I’m not going to spoil him” But something happened with Henry. Along side his many talents ( one of which is covering his entire bedroom floor in lego in under a minute) is he is great at math. He gets that skill from his father. He is able to throw numbers, it seems to me, randomly, into the air & like a juggling master, catches them all in a way that makes it an art form. Another of his talents is to speak for hours without taking a single breath of air. He woos with his smile, disarms with his skills at numbers & lego ship building, then speaks for long you’ve wondered if you melted into the floor, wished, rather. There are days with which I am shocked to still own my own ears. “Wait, I thought I tore those off hours ago”. We have not spoiled him. Partly to which I owe a big thank you to my daughters, who’s mission it seems, is to crush him like a roach. (actually, the girls are nice to him when they see a roach, because they need him to kill it) His 10 year old sister screams, screeches, fights without just cause. “HE looked at ME!”
My son wears his heart on his sleeve, a place were every mother can see thier own son’s crack. I tape his back together with sweet words & he asked me if we can snuggle for just a minute. He is both so strong & so in danger of becoming heartless, because someone can break it in two. He played T-ball when he was 4, while in the outfield, he would dig for bugs. He plays baseball now. This year, he has a real shirt, with the number 4 & his last name on the back. He is tough. He doesn’t act as though he sees me arrive late to his first game. He is in the outfield. He is resting his gloved hand & free one on his knees. No smile, no dimples. From the stands, I can’t see his heart either. Did he tuck it away? Is it gone for good? Is he a cool dude now? After the game, he has very little to say. He is too busy being a boy among boys. I leave him to be one. I walk behind as we head for the car, mourning the loss of seeing his heart.
During the school week, I just hear screaming from his sisters, he yells back now. Defends himself. I’m glad for this, I am tired of listening to the fighting. I tell my children, I have no favorites for all time, I tell them I have favorites some of the time. I tell them my favorite child is the one who is being kind & helpful. This gives them a reason to do Mitzvah. At least I hope God takes notice. My Rabbi told me that the most important thing about raising children, is that you only have 18 years to teach them how to become men & women (that you like) I thought maybe removing his heart from his sleeve & from my view was part of growing up, to become a man. Well, that just sucks.
Then Wednesday night, I show up late again, this time due to having to park 3 miles from the field. He is standing where he was the first time I saw him on the field. The difference is he smiles & waves at me. As the other team swings the bat, my son is jumping up & down to get my attention. He is pointing at the airplane close enough to the ground to give us all crew cuts. At the end of the game, (they lost, but not as badly) after the boys slap each other’s hands, all acting like men. My BOY runs to his 10 year old sister & hugs her, then he comes up to me & hugs me too.
Did you hear that? My heart just cracked a little. I guess he gets that from me.