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3:03 a.m. - 2013-07-13

So it happened. My kid is officially taller than I am. Plus there's something else I can't quite put my finger on...the way he walks, maybe? His voice dropped another notch? Despite the gnawed fingernails he has man hands? Whatever. The deal is my son isn't a child. Not grown, of course. But not a child. Not anymore.

I know I talk about this a lot. As much as I doted on my elder son, which I did, I think back to this time in his life and all I get is a blurry speed rap. Now it's a different gig. There's no toddler terror wreaking havoc. No imported kids. No gigantic house. No disintegrating marriage. My life is quiet. I have the time now to observe. To mark each tiny increment.

The year I was eight I got a seriously cool gift. Christmas? Birthday? I disremember. The gift was a botanical science kit. I really, really wanted a chemistry set, but instead I got the science kit. After the initial disappointment over not having a badass chemistry set to concoct explosives and stink bombs with I liked the science kit very much. The kit had petri dishes and a transparent gel-like growing medium and some quick-sprout seeds. What you did was mix up the clear jello, pour it into the petri dishes, stick some seeds in, put the seeded petri dishes on a sunny window sill and wait. In a few days the seeds sprouted. Thanks to the see-through growing medium you could watch the whole process. The swelling of the aril. The splitting of the seed and emergence of that first tiny little root sprout. The root system took hold first and then a wee stem finally poked up from the see-through goo. It was fascinating. For certain I hadn't been allowed to leave that 'mess' on the window sill long enough to transition my little plants into dirt in a pot, but I got to be there for the coolest part. I got to really watch as those tiny dry little seeds became real plants. Roots. Stems. Leaves. They were well on their way to becoming what they were supposed to be.

This is how it feels with Wolf. That this time I got to be wholly here for the coolest part.

I am grateful for this.

I can do it because not only is my outside life quiet, my inner life is quiet too. I know who I am. So I have the patience to watch my son sprout. I have the time to look at each tiny increment as it happens and mark it in my mind.

God, I used to be so lost.

Too lost. Too other directed. Too busy listening to or fending off all kinds of stuff. LOUD stuff. Harsh, harsh voices in my head hectoring, clamoring, judging, punishing.

Today I discovered a crow's toe at the outside corner of my right eye. Just a toe. A single line which in time will be joined by others to make a regulation crow's foot, but right now it's just a toe. And I didn't mind. In fact I think it's pretty cool. I looked at my crow's toe and thought of a book I've loved since my 'plants in clear goo' stage. In 'The Children of Green Knowe' the author described Great-granny Oldknowe thusly:

'She had short silver curls and her face had so many wrinkles it looked as if someone had been trying to draw her for a very long time and every line put in made the face more like her.'


I like the idea that each line added to my face will make me more me.

Maybe not always. Tomorrow, a month, a year, a decade from now I might decide I'd like a facelift, some fillers. No botox though. Lord help me if I ever think turning my phiz into a blanked-out immobile expressionless numb mask is a good idea. I like being able to cock an eyebrow. Or smile. I'd really miss smiling. Far better to be Granny Oldknowe than Joan Rivers.

Anyway, that's just my outside. Tinkering with it or letting the jowls droop where they like, I am getting the hang of being me. Heh, took me long enough. But you know what? If I'm finally bumping up to first-class it's a good thing. If I'm allowing myself to sit in a comfy seat with plenty of room and let someone bring me a good meal I know I've earned it. I did my time in coach. Hell, I spent most of my life in steerage. Cramped and miserable. Puking from the stench. Anxiously awaiting inspection from unknown and arbitrary deciders of my fate. Making do and suffering because someday I'd be allowed to make a better life. A life of MY choosing. A life where who my people were, what the villagers decided for me, what I was and what I was not allowed to do was out of my hands, that time would be over and I'd be in charge.

And here I am.

Being such a tall person I knew that when my children finally overtopped me it would mean they were almost done. Nearly finished with their own growing up years and about ready to step out on their own. Alex did. Sadly you guys know what happened there. Wolf? I'm allowing myself a tiny bit of hope he won't be like his brother and tell me to fuck off and die. They are very different sons who got very different mothers. This time I had the privilege of being entirely here. From tiny seed through wobbly sprout to fully formed plant just coming into its flower.

I have silver in my hair and a line on my face. The bod is shot but the spirit is finding its peace. And my son is really and truly and forever taller than I am.


Much love, ~LA

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