August 15, 2007

Growing Pains

Terrel.
My firstborn.
I stand at the kitchen sink washing dishes, and thinking of my just-turned-seventeen-year-old-son.
Not yet a man.
No longer a little boy.
Thinking of the years gone by.
Thinking of now.
Of yesterday.
Of tomorrow.

I hear his bedroom door close.
Hear his feet on the stairs.

"Hey, where'd everybody go?" he asks, as he comes into the kitchen.
"Dad went to the store. Mike's out playing," I answer.
He spoons instant tea and sugar into a glass of water, and stirs.
Always drinking iced tea.

"What're you doing?" he asks, stirring briskly.
I have to smile to myself.

"Oh, nothing. Washing dishes. Just been standing here, thinking of you. Thinking of what a good son you are."

"I was thinking back over the years, about things that have happened. Of some of the things that we've been through together. Some of the things I remember, I know I wouldn't have made it through, had it not been for you. So many times you had to be the strong one."

I turn now and look at him. Not down, but up. No longer little boy looking up to mother, but mother looking up to son.
"You're a fine son, Terrel, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you."

He sets the glass down, and extends his hand, palm-downward, placing it on my shoulder, not unlike an Indian's gesture of friendship. He steps forward, and takes a quick, sideways peck at my forehead.

"Your mother loves you very much, " I say softly.
His expression is half-pleased, half-embarrassed. He says nothing, but steps back now, retrieving the glass of tea. He takes a long drink, and smiles, brightly.

"Hey, Mom, did I tell you about the plans I'm drawing for that really righteous machine I want to build?"

I turn back to the sink, and to the dishes, and I marvel at the bittersweet mystery of growth.

5 comments:

pepektheassassin said...

You have done a fantastic job with your place. It's beautiful and a joy to read. (I looked around it yesterday, but got sidetracked and didn't have time to tell you how I enjoyed your poetry and your insightful thoughts.) And thanks to k and Livey for introducing us! I'll be back, and you can come visit me anytime.

pepektheassassin said...

btw, if (when) you visit me, click on my Poetry Thursday icon and look around there--it's great fun, and you can consider this an invitation to join us. I (and three others) write a monthly column, and everyone contributes to what has become a terrific site.

Jan said...

Thanks pepektheassassin for the kind words..I can use all of those I can get.

You are soooo welcome here, and I just put yours in "Favorite Places", so that I can come over for a visit...thanks for the invitation!

sue said...

What a cool post. You are the right kind of mom. Lovely.

Jan said...

Thanks, Sue...you are kind to say so.