Last night, G/Son & I watched A Wrinkle in Time, which is now available for purchase. Tonight, I think we may watch Black Panther, which he’s seen before but Nonna hasn’t.
He’s keeping teen-ager hours these days; he was up until Goddess knows when, although in bed, with his computer. I finally woke him at nearly noon because we had errands to run: Duck Donuts for his breakfast (don’t ask; we’re talking enough sugar and carbs to kill Nonna), drop off papers at Nonna’s financial advisor, scope out the local park with batting cages (not open until 4:00, so we left and went to), the grocery store to buy the things a growing boy needs (pineapple chunks, strawberries, crasins, apple juice, broccoli, and hamburger fixings). We came home and he introduced the cats to some new cat toys and then we were off to the (finally open) batting cages.
His plan tonight is to sleep in a sleeping bag in the ritual room so the cats can sleep with him.
G/Son’s at this stage of boyhood just between being a little boy (snuggling with the cats makes him supremely happy, he loves to hide and make you look for him) and a teenager (wanting a good chunk of time alone, needing to make independent choices about, well, everything). As a mom and a former educator, this age has always seemed to me like the MOST liminal time. This is where too much control is as disastrous as too little. Here is where all the work, love, time, attention, magic, and hope (or the lack thereof) can — combined with a good dose of the effects of gamma rays on man-in-the-moon marigolds — tip a budding human either towards the mysteries or into the wasteland.
These times seem to me — as I admit they have seemed to grandparents from time immemorial — so much more dangerous than the times when I grew up, or even the times when I was raising Son. I gave G/Son some money from my wallet to go into the donut store and he told me how people he knows write “Harriet Tubman” on every $20 bill, and he carefully and logically explained to me why Trump is wrong to refuse to change the twenty dollar bill to show Harriet Tubman. And, so, we had the talk I never wanted or expected to have with the great-grandchild of a man who fought in WWII to defeat Nazis: about how Trump never misses an opportunity to be evil and how he seizes children from their parents at the border and cages the children. (G/Son told me that he wouldn’t have been afraid if that had happened to him when he was little, but that he knows it would have “probably killed” his parents. Children have empathy that the rest of us need to learn.)
I reminded G/Son how, when he was little, we’d watch Batman cartoons and when the villain would gloat over his evil scheme I’d remind G/Son that most people believe they are doing the right thing even when it’s not, or how they believe that they had no choice, and how it’s too easy to believe in evil villains who are happy to do evil. I told G/Son that I’ve been forced to re-evaluate my hypothesis.
He agreed and went into the store to buy his breakfast.
These are precious days. This young man is growing up, and, as all healthy children do, away. I’m lucky to be here, on the edge of . . . everything. As Gibran said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
May it be so for you.