Monday, October 09, 2006

he still holds my hand

My younger son is 11, and I am 33. I love the magic of numbers and it feels really special that we're both delicious double digits and that I am 3 times his age as 3, of course, is a magic number.

My boys, quite honestly, are awkward fellows. Chalk it up to the combination of being adolescent boys who have grown up entirely outside of the mainstream paradigm: they've never been to school, their mom is a pagan, psychedelic, priestess freak, their dad is a far away, liberal, academic, law student type, their clothes all come from thrift stores instead of box stores and malls, and they live deep in the mountains surrounded by a mismatched collective of neighbors and roommates and lots of animals and holy, holy, wooded beauty. They are different from other children. However, they are doing well with it, awkwardness and all. They are intelligent and wildly creative and mostly considerate and can function pretty well in a group. They play sports and video games, so as not to set them too far apart from their cultural peer group, and they argue and bicker and wrestle with each other, too, the older they get.

But a phenomenon in our lives that keeps occurring that I continue to cherish but wait on the edges of devastation to no longer be true is how blessed and lucky I am that G still holds my hand. He is a strong boy, a triple Taurus, so he's very earthy, almost feral at times, and quite headstrong. His physical makeup is the very embodiment of his bull archetype; he is stocky, muscular and firm, full-faced, and tough as a young bull learning his strengths. His hands are thick and rough with boyhood adventures of climbing trees and digging ditches and building forts. And those hands still reach for mine whenever we walk together. It is nigh on intoxicating at this point; every time he does it I catch my breath, silently so as not to let on at my grateful surprise and glee.

He holds my hand automatically when we walk in the city and need to cross streets. It must be ingrained after all those years that I refused to have it otherwise so paranoid of traffic accidents I am. And yet somehow L quit holding my hand every time we crossed the street at some point in the recent past. I don't remember it; I am unsure how he got away with it because frankly I'd just as soon we all hold hands when faced with the threat of vehicular manslaughter. But L is just as likely to be holding some younger child's hand when we cross now, so I trust him and let him go. What truly amazes me, though, is that G holds my hand out there in public, in full view of the city and whomever may accompany us. This big little boy has not yet matured so much that he even realizes that other boys his age would be mortally embarrassed to hold their mothers' hands in public, and so he himself is not. Thank my lucky stars.

Holding my hand is not just reserved as an automatic response to city walking, either. G holds my hand, takes my hand in his even when we go on our long walks up our mountain. We walk our dogs up the gravel, wooded road nearly every day, and oftentimes the boys carry with them sticks or swords or other, various, phallic implements of destruction as they seem genetically programmed to do. And yet even still, I regularly get the delighted rush of satisfaction of feeling that rough-palmed, chunky hand make its way into my own. His hand seeks mine. He likes holding my hand. He enjoys being close to his mom while he walks. I cannot put my true feelings into adequate words. I feel I am the luckiest woman in the world every time it happens. And when the getting is really good, now that he has grown so much taller, he occasionally throws his arm over my shoulders so we can walk arm and arm, as comrades, as partners, as the best of friends. What sweet bliss-- may it never end.

I wish every mother I know could have the opportunity to experience the visceral bliss of her half-grown son's hand, tough but not yet manly, grasping for the comfort of her hand's embrace. The world would be a kinder place if our boys were all so blessed as to be able to appreciate that safety and comfort and our mothers were all so gratified by their sons' appreciation of them.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to hear you say you think they're genetically programmed to pick up and play with weapons. you're joking though right? I hope so...very little evidence for biological roots of gender roles...but you knew that...-mimi

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to hear you say you think its genetic that they pick up and play with're joking though right...very little evidence for biological roots of gender roles...but you knew that right...-mimi

just said...

I said "they seem genetically programmed" though I'm not convinced they're not. I am easily swayed by anecdotal evidence, and I have loads of that to support my case. I agree that there is no evidence for the biological roots of gender roles, but as a card-carrying, women's degree toting feminist I feel there is ample evidence for for the biological roots of sexual differences.

But feel free to kick me out of the cool kids' club if you disagree.