Letter To My Son: Toothless

Dear Jacob,

My son.

My beautiful, beautiful boy.

You came into this world with a head full of black hair and long, skinny feet. I saw so much of myself in you as you looked around the world with your newborn eyes wide open that I was stunned.

I could barely speak except to say how beautiful you were.

You are 5 years and 9 months old now. Only 3 months away from becoming 6 years old. You are tall and have long gangly legs with knobby knees and a sponge for a brain.

You run gracefully and with so much power, I’m amazed when you take off to “sonic” your way to the car after I pick you up from school.

Your hair is lighter now and you have the same wishes to color it wildly and style it anyway you want, just as I did (and still do!).

You laugh at things you find funny all on your own. Your sense of humor has kicked in and there are times while I’m driving that you will crack yourself up in the backseat, unable to tell me what you think is so funny. Hearing you laugh is one of the greatest sounds, especially if I’ve made you laugh but this, you laughing on your own, makes my heart skip a beat.

I love watching your sense of self bloom. Your humor, your sensitivity and your confidence shine through as your big personality takes root. You want to help people and make things better.

And I no longer see so much of myself in you. Instead, I just see you, Jacob. I see your big smile and your wide nose. Your perfectly carved cheek bones and your dark, thoughtful eyes.

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And here you stand, proudly displaying a little gap in your smile. A big day for us as you were excited to be able to slip Cheerios through your missing tooth space and I was seeing this as a beginning to bigger things.

New adventures, grown up plans and more time together making new memories. You are no longer a baby as your baby teeth slowly get pushed aside for your more grown up teeth. To make room for that big personality, the baby you were needs to be shelved to make way for all you will become.

Soon you’ll be riding your bike without the help of training wheels. You’ll be able to go on the big roller coasters and rides. You’ll be able to read all to yourself without any help. And you’ll be able to finishing your ice cream without leaving any bites left.

As you called from your room this morning, telling me that the toothfairy had visited and left coins and sprouts (or glitter), my heart swelled as I realized this was the beginning.

The beginning of being a mom to a big boy.

A big boy that would grow to be a teenager who would grow to be a man. The man you are today, reading this little note. A note about losing a tooth that may seem so insignificant in the long run of things, but to me in this moment, it’s life altering.

You were born beautiful, my son. And now with your missing tooth and the small white peak of a new tooth shining through, you are even more beautiful. Seeing that gap and your little tongue poking through makes me melt as I realize my baby is growing up right before my eyes.

I love you. I said yes to being your mom and I love being just that, through all the ups and downs. You will always be my beautiful baby, my silly little boy and someday, you’ll be a man.

A beautiful, silly man I hope.

Love,

Mama

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Letter To My Son: All I Have To Offer

Dear Jake,

We lived a very steady life when you were younger. A life of 9 to 5. Of Monday through Friday with a weekend at the end. We took short vacations and the occasional day off with some holiday time around the New Year.

Grocery shopping was for Sunday. Laundry was on Saturday.

The alarm rang at 6am and we promptly silenced it till we were good and ready to wake up. Drop off was after 7 in the morning and we saw each other again for an enthusiastic hug and kiss just after 5.

Our days rarely changed and this consistency made us a little bored at times but happier in the end. We were better for it, I swear.

But one thing started to bother me as you began to reach elementary school age. I could offer you a home, lots of love, giggles and silliness, food to eat and food you refused, bathtime and a book to read at bedtime. And on the rare occasion I let my guard down, a little toy or new movie to enjoy would make its way home with us.

What I couldn’t offer was more time. Time for swim lessons. Time to take hip hop or drum classes. I couldn’t make room for theater or painting, for karate or baseball though we tried.

I wished, with all my heart, to have been able give you the chance to experience everything. To travel and see the world. To learn languages you’d never use. To find something that was uniquely yours.

You were only 5 years old at the time that I wrote this with no realization of all that I did and didn’t do. The sadness that colored my expression as I drove past the studio offering new classes in jazz and movement. The sigh I released as I checked out the new Fall schedule for swim classes that we couldn’t fit into our days.

The regret that, though I gave you every ounce of everything I had, I couldn’t give you those opportunities. And that it wasn’t a short term issue. It was something I prepared myself to accept as a long term issue. The issue of time not being available and that we would only be just us.

When you read this, I want you to know that, though you didn’t take tumbling classes or join a basketball league or get a chance to explore watercolors or Spanish, it wasn’t for lack of effort. And if you had asked me, I would have moved heaven and earth to find a way to make it happen.

All I can offer you in your grown up days is the knowledge that you were loved. Loved to the moon and back. We may not have done boy scouts or sleep away camps, but we laughed. We laughed everyday and we were goofy everyday. We sang songs together and shared the same sense of humor.

As you read this, now a fully grown man, maybe with a family of your own, I hope you have memories of the snuggles in the morning, of singing in the car and of making plans together to see every city in all the world (yes…you wanted to travel and see everything. And I agreed). I hope these memories are beautiful and warm, filling in for the memories we never got to make.

Silly Faces

All I could offer then was everything I had. I gave you my all. And if you had asked me for more, my son, I would have found a way.

Neither did you ask nor did you complain.

Instead you laughed.

And together, we were silly.

Where Have All The Fairy Tales Gone?

Once upon a time, when I was 24, I had a birthday gathering. It was a Princess Party. We wore colorful feather boas, fake sparkly tiaras and wonderfully gaudy costume jewelry. My friends joined me at the Holy Cow in San Francisco and we danced and drank and had a blast while we celebrated my 24th year of gracing this earth with my presence.  A good looking young man even took the time to ask why we were all decked out and ended up asking for my number.

One of the two times in my life anyone ever asked for my number. It was a good night and by far my best birthday.

Up to that point in my life, I believed in fairy tales. I believed in happily ever after and that for every girl/princess there was a guy/prince waiting for her to be his.

Silly, maybe. But it was what I wanted. I wanted the fairy tale and magic that all tales possess.

By the next birthday, I was back home celebrating quietly with my family while I felt my son kick and move around within me. I was pregnant and not up to celebrating.

So much had changed so fast. I had gone from eagerly waiting and anticipating my birthdays to wishing them away, wanting not to care and not to be noticed.

And with a baby came those thoughts and fears every parent has. Worried about the future and about what kind of parent you would be. Concerns about education, the state of the world, finances. And in my case, becoming not just a first time mom but a single parent right off the bat, there were more than just the usual concerns of every parent but a few extra thrown in for good measure.

But one issue I didn’t think all the way through. Maybe I couldn’t at the time because I didn’t have any experience to base it on. Or maybe I was just naive.

While pregnant, much talking¬† happened between myself and others about the issue of dating and possibly marrying someday. In my naive thinking and mixed with my strong belief in fairy tales and the magic of true love, I felt that dating and the future possibility of getting married wasn’t something I needed to worry about. It would happen when it was time to happen. I had other things at hand to work through like legal and visiting rights of my son’s co-parent and my job and health insurance.

Then he was born and another birthday of mine had slipped past without notice. Then the first two years were a whoosh and were gone without blinking. And suddenly I found us clear and available to pursue dating as an option.

But there was a catch. It was no longer ME or I, it was US. This was the issue I hadn’t fully considered.

I was dating for us because no matter what may come, I will always be a mother and any prince that gallops into my courtyard clamoring for the attentions of this faire maiden will have to deal with the fact that I’m a two for one deal.

Relationships have come and gone since then making me realize just how tough it is to date when a child is involved. I’ve slowly started to dread my birthdays, too. There isn’t any more joy about celebrating another year, instead there is the fear that another year has past and I’m slowly becoming more uncertain.

And, as the joy of birthday celebrating becomes mute, I’m also losing my belief in magic. In happily ever after.

In fairy tales.

I never took into consideration that while there would be people out there willing and happy to date me and my son, that I wouldn’t be willing to take the chance on them. I always imagined any road blocks to finding my happily ever after would be because of the lack of worthy candidates and instead find the one blocking my path is actually me.

Reality is a far scarier monster than any dragon guarding a castle.

Now I find myself conflicted between the girl who wants to believe and the woman that doesn’t.

I want to believe in the good and the magic and in love and happiness. But my sensibility is taking over and I’m finding it hard to see beyond reality.

I also want to believe that even a single mom can find a happily ever after that suits her life and the choices she’s made. That even though the gowns and tiaras of yesterday are long gone and now time is spent taking care of herself and her family, that there is room for one more.

That love isn’t a luxury.

But reality.