My Max once told a friend, “Stop trying to scare me. I have a very small heart, you know!” I rarely say no to my sons. (Caveat – my career is all about not really saying no. Or yes.) But this time. No, no. I think, actually, it takes a huge heart to experience fear. It takes a gigantic heart to recognize and undertake panic, rage, sorrow, pain. And to truly experience love and magic.
When he was in middle school, my Max would slice up cucumbers for us to put on our eyes for Saturday night “facials.” We would lotion our feet and slide them into socks and watch “Finding Nemo.” Even now, when he is at home, he wanders into my bedroom and curls up at the end of my bed under a blanket to watch a movie. Sometimes, it’s still “Finding Nemo.” My youngest creates the capacity for awe in what may initially appear to be mundane, but is truly lovely and magical.
My Shane was here to celebrate his 21st birthday last year. The kitchen table housed his laptop, journal, teacup, a plate of fruit. His skateboard and a couple pairs of size-14 shoes were by the front door. T-shirts and flannels were scattered throughout the upper floor. He came into my room. “Mom, can I do some yoga in here?” “Sure,” I said. He flipped on a yoga video and I pulled out my yoga mat, too. We did a yoga session together. Then he headed out the door to hang out with his friends. It takes a special soul to be comfortable no matter where you are. My eldest appreciates and makes every space he occupies feel like home for himself and everyone in it.
I used to say I didn’t want to get married and have children. But we learn as we grow older – we can never say never. I did and I was wrong. I changed my mind about having children; my beautiful sons are here. I am grateful for that. They have taught me so much more than I ever imagined possible.
I used to fear that my own trauma and fear would pass through me to my sons. But here’s the thing. No one’s trauma is comparable. Or imagined. Trauma and pain might seem subjective, but they are very real and extremely personal. No one gets to hold out a ruler and say, mine is worse or yours doesn’t really exist or I’ve completely healed from mine or you’re more f*cked up than me. But we can be there to listen or hold each other while we heal.
Here’s what I think matters as this year winds down. This weird and crazy year. We are all on a journey. We all have a unique gift to leave this planet. For that, we can cherish each other. Maybe try a little harder to not hurt each other. The journey is long. It helps to have someone hold your hand when you get tired. I’ll hold your hand. I know you’ll hold mine. We have a little farther to go. Bless you and your gigantic hearts, loves. Get some rest.