I posed for that photo at my final baby shower, just a couple weeks before I met My Boy. I thought it (I) was funny. I like the way it turned out, the light behind me — not in front of me. ‘Here, you little ignoramus. I’m right here; truth — lighting up your head…but you look away. You predict. You think. You fear. Well, just wait, little darling. Just wait.’
The photo was my final stab at irreverence.
“Tell your husband to buy a football,” the nurse had said, months prior, right after she announced, “It’s a boy.” I didn’t call Nic and tell him to buy a football. What I did was drive my car off onto a country road, veer right into the top of the ditch, turn it off and screamcrycurdle at the top of my lungs. I cried until my face blew up, until my eyes were swollen and hurt. My shirt was soaked with snot and spit. My body heaved, in fear. A Boy. A tiny man — my terror — living INSIDE OF ME.
I don’t fear girls. With them, I am safe. Safe to love; safe to be loved. Every little girl I see on the sidewalk, I love.
When my baby boy finally showed, I didn’t take one look at him and feel the change in the world. I wasn’t overcome with emotion, like 90% of women I knew with children had told me I would be. They pulled him out of my body, placed him in Nic’s arms and directed that boy to show me the new one. “Huh,” my reaction. Okay.
Now, I’ve seen him smile. I’ve heard him laugh. I’ve watched him watch the changes in his world. He’s not a boy anymore, not even My Boy — he’s simply my child.
Last week, I was nearing home after an afternoon without him. Every day, when I get within the final blocks, I can feel my heart beat speed up. I am so close to love. So close. So close. As I hit my final four-way stop, I looked right. Three boys on bikes, waiting to ride through the crosswalk. They had arrived after I had, and halted, unsure if I was someone who would wait for their passage. The littlest one was in front. He made eye contact with me. He peered past the glass and asked, with his little boy eyes, ‘Is it okay?’
I waived them on on, of course…and as they scooted in front of me, I looked at his hair. His little boy hair. I thought about his little boy eyes. How I’d seen them — seen him — as Someone’s Little Boy. For the first time, I saw a little boy as a little girl — as a little, wonderful person. I shook my head, as I pressed the gas. “Thank you,” I said out loud. “Thank you,” I repeated. And “Thank you” reverberated five thousand times through my body. Thank you, My God. For teaching me.