This is the second poem of the three I’ll be publishing this week. You can find the first one, “this is about you”, here. If you haven’t read it, I hope you will after you read this one… this one is for my son.
You’re taller than me now,
you stand there and laugh as your eyes are able to look down on me.
I step back and remind you that I’m still older, I’m still in charge.
You sit next to me on my bed and tell me to listen to that song, the one I don’t understand the words to, the one I know if I tell you I don’t understand the words to you’ll walk away and I’ll be counted as just another parent who doesn’t understand… so I listen, and I smile, and I sway to the rhythm and we share that moment.
I know these moments will become fewer, these times when you jump on my bed and want to share your music and your books and your YouTube videos that I don’t understand either and so for now I don’t dare move off this bed.
I look at you and I see the man you’ll be, he’s already shown himself in this teenage form that he now occupies. He stands up in class and assertively tells the teacher she’s being a bigot, he gets in between the big kid on the bus who’s picking on the little kid on the bus, he tells that girl she’s pretty and he likes her. The man you will become has already introduced himself to me.
I wonder how you got so brave, how you became so fierce and fearless in just 13 years. I think about how much you teach me, how I feel more fierce when you tell me your stories because I think a part of me must be in you… a part of me must be beating in your soul, making you fierce. I think I must have some of that in me too so I breathe in deep and I face whatever comes… because you showed me how.
I dread the day when you bring that girl home… the one who sees the man you are, my man. The one who climbs into your heart and nudges me out-of-the-way… just a bit. I’ll smile anyway — I’ll share that space… your heart can expand so wide and I’ll be comfortable there in that corner and I’ll continue to take up space, even when we’re far apart.
I know this because right now, when you come sit next to me on my bed and you tell me to listen to your new favorite song — I will. I’ll stay right there in that moment and I won’t care if the phone rings or if my email dings or if the perfect poem is forming in my head… I’ll stay next to you and I’ll sway to the rhythm and we’ll smile at each other without saying a word and I’ll breathe in the stillness of that moment… claiming my corner of your heart.