Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This Moment Is Good, and It Is Enough for Now

My son sticks out his tongue sometimes when he draws or paints, and it just kills me. I love that little face he makes for anything that requires steadiness or concentration, and I'm always reminded of his dad's saying, "It's easy, but ya gotta hold your mouth just right." Something like that, anyway.

Working from home, as I do, I often have to come up with ways to occupy my son when I'm busy. His art table is in the same room with my computer, so crafts are a natural solution at times. I edit for a while, paint for a while, edit, paint (or glue, or cut, or...). It's nice for both of us.

Next year he'll begin preschool. Yes, he could have started preschool long before this. However, and this is only one of my reasons for my decision, I strongly believe in keeping kids home for a while (if possible) when they're kids; they have their entire lives to go to school. Sure, this is a complicated issue, and I don't judge other moms who put their kids in preschool at age two. This works for some people, and that's fine.

I suppose I compare my son's upbringing to my own. My mom was able to stay home with four kids well past the youngest child's beginning grade school, and I always dreamt of being a stay-at-home mom. Maybe this isn't practical in this day and age. Still, I recall a workshop in which the instructor talked about intentions and goals. "You'd never say, 'I'll feed my children if I can,'" she preached. "You just decide you will feed your children and make a commitment to it. It works the same way with goals -- you make a commitment to them, and there is no question that you will achieve them." Overly simplified, perhaps, but there is truth in what she taught.

When I was my son's age, our Illinois town had no preschool program. My mother placed me in a children's Saturday ballet class, and I remember the teacher would push us down into the splits instead of teaching us how to stretch. Ouch. I hated that. Somehow, though, we managed to learn a dance or two, and I remember proudly performing in a kiddie recital before my parents and grandparents. Golly -- did both sets of grandparents attend? I seem to recall they did. That was truly special, having everyone together. My extended family is so geographically scattered now. I remember being pleased with my sparkly, pink tutu; everything was pink, I think. Someone -- my parents? grandparents? -- brought me a musical jewelry box with a tiny mirror and twirling ballerina inside. The weather was cold, and I had to wear a coat over my costume as we drove to the hall. During the recital, I or another kid dropped my/her hat -- a benign, and probably cute, wardrobe malfunction. I honestly can't remember if it was my hat, but since I remember the hat falling, I suppose it was. One of the songs to which we danced was "It's a Grand, Old Flag," and we had to sing as we danced. Heh. It's not exactly a song that lends itself to the fine art of ballet, but I practiced singing at home in our finished basement until I learned it, and I still remember the words.

Every day my son and I have an adventure. Every day we play. Every day I hug and kiss him a hundred times. He sits on my lap and we look at car pictures on the computer. We visit museums and playgrounds, meet other kids for playdates and take walks, during which my son likes to pick up sticks and rocks. We have more sticks and rocks than I know what to do with, and I think soon we'll have to put some back. Fitting my work schedule around my son is a challenge, but I enjoy it. Someday soon he'll start preschool, then kindergarten, then grade school, and our relationship will change with each transition.

He'll still get a hundred kisses a day, though. I'll just have to kiss him when he's sleeping! ;-)