In Writing

I love my life so completely. I have lucked out in sooo many ways, and I often have to pinch myself to believe that a kid like me got to grow up into a woman so surrounded by love and opportunity. In no area is this more true than in the kids the unknowable universe saw fit to send me as children. Today marks the fifteenth year I’ve had the honor of being mom to this young man (pictured today, below). It has been quite a journey.

It’s no secret that I’ve had some challenging relationships to male energy in my life. My childhood was tough, my romantic relationships at times difficult and inscrutable. There was something about maleness itself I’ve found difficult to understand much of my life, the different sensibilities, the harder edge, the frequent lack of willingness (or ability?) to reveal emotion. Even back in grammar school, boys in my grade sometimes weirded me out, with their gross jokes and their need for constant motion.

Being the mother of a boy child has done so much to help me heal that divide. Because he started as a part of me, I have always seen the best of him. Watching him to grow up to be interesting and engaged and, yes, typically male, has helped soften my view of the process, seeing the vulnerability and humanity that goes along with that different sensibility.

So today’s he’s fifteen. In the morning, he got up and we talked about stuff in the news. We got on a giggling riff about something – he has a similarly warped and crazy sense of humor as mine – and just enjoyed each other’s company. Then we looked at some of his baby pictures, and he rolled his eyes to discover that in one of them I was wearing a T-shirt that said, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”

“Ugh, you’ve always been like this,” he laughed. He likes to spar with me about my ultra-liberal views. I like that he keeps me on my toes.

I’ve been a mother for a little longer than he’s been alive, but he’s taught me things that only he could. He’s taught me that loving differences makes you a deeper, more compassionate person. That even those you love madly might see the world in a different way. That men can be inherently good and vulnerable, not exactly like women, but just as much (yes, I needed to learn this!). That feminism reads differently to someone who feels like he might be getting lumped in for injustices he didn’t perpetrate. That laughing at silly things is the best. And so, so much more.

My beloved son, I am so glad you’re in this world.

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