30 October 2006

Three Cards from Kaleb

They are pinned to the freezer door by a series of magnetic items. One is a bottle opener, very much past its prime. They flutter slightly when the wind takes an easterly heading, something that doesn't happen very often.

These three folded sheets of paper are hand-drawn cards from My son, Kaleb, to Me. One says De: Kaleb, Para: Papi over a gift with a twirly "bow." Inside there's a race track with four cars flashing along. It seems his favorite car, Number 48, is in first place.

In an interesting reversal, the next card opens to the left and has the inscription Para: Papi, De: Kaleb on the front, over a gift with an even bigger twirly bow. Inside there's a truck, an amazingly long truck with smoke coming up beneath small clouds and a bright sun.

The third simply says Para: Papi and between this and the gift with a less twirly bow are four hearts. On the back there are 25 hearts, with one huge heart enclosing a medium-sized heart and 11 small ones, all this flanked by 12 medium ones. He knows hearts mean love. He told Me so.

Inside there's a sun wearing sunglasses, a small cloud that seems to be raining, a large truck, a small one and a box with legs, all of them traveling across a narrow two-lane road. Above the box, a twirly bow. The box's side has a scrawl, drawn harshly. And above the large truck, like a shout, is a massive skein of whirls, a wiry chaos that is so dark where everything else has been so light.

It seems obvious that his whirls express what he cannot--or will not--say. Thinking back to when I was the child of a divorce, I vividly remember the conflicted feelings, the overwhelming need to say something, but keeping quiet for fear of the unknown. And I was 12 at the time; Kaleb is merely 6.

Maybe I work too much, occasionally doing work when he's with Me because that's what We are used to doing, and I sometimes need to use "his" time to complete My goals. But now, even though We're together, instead of spending more time together later, We're faced with being separated. I try very hard to not have to work when Kaleb is here with Me, but Our future needs My time, too.

Maybe it's My conflict that he feels, My lack of balance that he picks up and somehow tries to manage. It isn't his and he truly cannot hope to deal well with it, but he tries so very hard. I know, because I tried so very hard, too, back in those dark days. And I can't remember succeeding.

Then again, he's growing up and facing greater challenges in school. Yet he handles those with aplomb, with panache, even, a sort of "aw shucks" shrug after another perfect score, another "Excellent", another glowing note from his teacher. Like Me, he'd rather be known for a first place in the 50-yard dash or throwing the farthest in the softball toss. That's My boy...and I worry as much as I feel pride.

Kaleb is not the perfect child, nor do I want him to be. He will have problems, he will face disappointments and he will occasionally, maybe even frequently, fail. That's Life. I'll be there for him every step of the way. But what I don't want is for him to take on burdens that are rightfully Mine, to feel the pain of My own failings in coming to terms with My new life. He has enough to handle without adding Me and Mine. It's natural for Me to always feel his pains and sufferings, but not so, I believe, for him to feel Mine.

And yet, all I can do is try to resolve whatever conflicts I might have, aware that the twirly bow and the chaotic skein are both degrees of caring from the loving heart of My little boy.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes,is hard for him and yet, as you said, he's very mature about it. He loves being with you and his cousins and when he's kept from it it becomes even harder.

Sure, maybe you can do more. Maybe you're doing more than enough. Just tell him you love him, everyday.

Is sad, mostly in my case, to have parents trying to suffocate you with love just because they were so busy battling each other when I was growing up. I simply don't care that much now for their hugs and "I Love You"s.

Don't worry you'll both be fine.