Younger Son recently became obsessed with those fancy sticker books you can get at Barnes & Noble. For Easter his Grammy bought him a Pokemon one and he’s been working on it in fits and starts since then.
At the same time Older Son got obsessed with a Pokemon DS game, so my world is filled with evolutions and Dan’s throwing style and fights over who’s Legendary and who’s not.
One evening while Older was at trampoline class and I had to bring Younger along to watch, we sat in the bleachers and put stickers in the book. I don’t think I could have been more content doing anything else. Ever.
I haven’t seen him this serious about something in a long time. He was trying to finish it this morning when I headed up for my shower. A few minutes later I heard him come into the bathroom and say in a very serious voice, “Mommy. I finished the book.”
I said “Yeah, that’s GREAT! I’ll be down in a minute to see it!” I knew in that moment my sacred duty as a mother. To be thrilled for him, and proud, and make a big to-do because he’d accomplished this little goal.
A sticker book might not seem like a very big deal, but this means a lot to him. He wants my approval and I will give it and then some. Because my job is to make him proud of himself, build him up, and give him strength to go out and face the world.
As these thoughts went through my mind, I remembered a moment last week when I dropped him off at school. Our lives are so busy and separated and constant that, while I worry about how he’s doing at school all day, I never really know what’s happening. I can’t picture everything he’s going through as he moves through his day, and being a boy-with-a-capital-B, he never tells me.
As he put his backpack in the line he stopped and looked down at the ground as if he was lost in thought. His face was so peaceful and beautiful, it was one of those times where I caught my breath and thought, is that MY KID? But I also saw something apprehensive in his look, as if he was happy in the moment, but there was something bothering him.
I wondered if it was fear, or stress, or if he was thinking about something bad that happened. I remember heading into school in the morning, even on a good day, feeling a weight on my shoulders. I could see all of this in his face and it made me want to run over and grab him and bring him home with me where I can protect him from everything forever. And somehow preserve that happy-go-lucky kid without the scars that life will hand him.
I know that’s all a bit melodramatic and I say it, like most moms would, half-serious and half-tongue-in-cheek. But lately, I just want to hold onto my little boy as long as I can.