Friday, August 5, 2011
I've been reminiscing a lot about Beau and his growing up. Next week he will turn sixteen, adding driving to his abilities, which seems almost unimaginable. Where did that sweet baby go, the one that never cried and was so easy to be the Mother of? How simply adorable he was, with his kind eyes watching the world around him, trusting in the adults who held him. Bringing him home from the hospital, after his brief stay at the NICU, was more joyous than I could have known. I was his Mother, I was his Mother, somehow that would take much time to sink in. Mark and I had cared for many babies and children over our six years together at that time. We had married in 1989 and ran in home day care together, giving birth to Beau on August 15, 1995, just three days after our sixth wedding anniversary. I would joke that "no one came for him" at the end of our long work day. I had cared for so many children, loving them, only to have them grow up, move away, lose track of us and sadly, even forget our intense bond. All day we would play and at the end of the day their parents would take them home, only to return the next morning. Often we spent more time with these kids than their parents did, so I felt blessed Mark and I would both raise our kids together in the daycare. The memories of the many children I loved are so deeply imbedded in my mind. Yet I know many of them have no memories of their time with us. So when Beau came into Mark and my life, it was almost as if I needed time to truly "get" this one was mine. He and I have a relationship that changes with each stage of his life. As a baby, I could sit for hours looking at his beautiful face, soaking up the love from him and giving mine. As a toddler, he was a handful, always on the go, I felt like I was the right Mom for him. My friends and family would often be overly worried about his climbing and activity. I encouraged his curiosity, loving his spunk. He was climbing trees, play houses, swing sets, anything he could, at a young age, seemingly loving the thrill and the height. I learned to turn the other cheek, letting him be who he was and trusting he could do it. There were times I'm sure my heart skipped a beat or two, but I didn't show it and he never got severely hurt. There was the time I was gardening with him near me in the sandbox, Mark was out, golfing I believe. When Mark came home he asked where Beau was, looking over, he was no longer in the sandbox. He was an independent two year old, probably he had gone to grab his pirates to play with in the sand. Hearing his voice from above us, we looked up and there he stood on our porch overhang. It is a low roof that covers our back porch, windows from both our dinning room and our kitchen go out onto it. At two years old, Beau thought it would be fun to go out the window onto it, while I was not watching. Mark and my heart stopped as we thought out getting to him without alarming him into going toward the edge. I knew I was in trouble with Mark, his son was on the roof while in my care! We have told that story many times, as it epitomizes Beau as a youngster. We got him to come through the window safely but he was mad about our concern. He would soon be on the roof again or up high in a tree. His need for heights seemed insatiable. The other story we often tell was while we were vacationing on Cape Cod. We had gone to a concert outside and there were these poles, like telephone poles, in various heights near each other, the shortest being at least eight feet high, the tallest, twelve feet. I was watching the band with Beau by my side, Mark must have been holding Teale. Beau couldn't see well enough, so he shimmied up the pole, standing at the top. At the time he was four years old and by then I was very used to his climbing. I barely took notice as he danced at the top. A woman near me, asked if that was my son, as I looked up at him ecstatic to be up high, I told her yes. She was appalled I was allowing him to be up there and felt it was her right to tell me how dangerous that was and that he should come down. Listening to her rage at me, all I could think was "thank God he got me as his Mother and not you." I trusted him and as he enjoyed his birds eye view of the concert, it made me smile to see him so happy. Beau was a handful as a young boy but Mark and I encourage kids to be themselves and to enjoy life. Because of this our children are free spirits. Often I joke that we are not good parents, but the reality is, I think we are the parents they each need us to be. Beau was my first, he was amazingly sweet and curious. His play was imaginative and active, he never just sat and colored or drew pictures, preferring physical play always. He would play pirates with swords. His "set ups" with his action figures, pirates and knight Play Mobile figures would entertain him for hours. One of his favorite activities was making "spider webs" throughout the house, winding balls of yarn all over and through things, pretending to be a spider or maybe it was "Spiderman." The intricate webs that we could not get through, he would then cut apart, leaving yarn everywhere. I often look back on Beau's younger days, thinking how innocent, carefree, fun and loving they were. Next week he will be sixteen and the world opens up to him in a whole other way. I miss my "little Beau" the one with the pirates in hand, climbing the highest tree he can find, but the young man he has become makes me proud.