This song was impossible for Patrick to listen to after we lost our first baby during the pregnancy. That baby had a name, a home and so much love. If we were in the car, he would turn the station. When I was in the car I would listen to it, and cry. I would cry because I loved to hear someone singing about the joy of welcoming a child into the world. I knew that one day I would, we would. It still makes me cry when I hear it.
Welcome Chloe, Eli and Lucas. We learned love and fear and challenge and joy in ways we had never before. Still are.
Eli was born in a car, fast and furious. Patrick had one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand reaching down to catch Eli who flew out of me. Slippery that kid was and is. He can fit into any space, has the goofiest laugh and can challenge my sensibilities like no other. Every morning he runs up the stairs around 5:30am to sit on the couch with his Daddy and eat a granola bar.
One day, the one we are hoping never comes, he told me he was in the bathroom and an older kid said, "Hey, you are the kid that wears the cowboy boots?" And he laughed at my goofy, loving little boy. Eli said nothing.
I had noticed for about a week he had not worn his favorite shoes, the hand-me-down boots that have been worn by many children.
We talked about it a bit, but he made a decision not to wear them and had been wearing other shoes. Then he asked for Nike Jordans. He told us that his friends had them and they were awesome.
I wanted to freeze time, to go back to the day when he didn't know kids were looking at his choices. When he wore blue nail polish and didn't worry about taking it off before yoga. When cowboy boots went on your feet because you loved the way they clicked on the sidewalk.
I posed the situation on Facebook and wow, I got some discussion. It was a joy to read and hear your stories.
Jennifer said, "... let go of your attachment (if you find you have one) to the idea that he should never do something based on the pressure of other kids/peers. These are his lessons to learn. Get him the nikes and honor him for that choice." And my heart said, yes, this is what I want. Always.
This little man isn't going to wear those boots to school anymore, and we wouldn't want him to with those feelings. The European velcro shoes he's been wearing instead were my choice, not his. His daddy took him to the store and he tried on every pair of shoes and ended up with a simple white pair of Nikes with a silver stripe. He loves them. He wanted to sleep in them and put them on before I was up the next morning. The smile on his face is huge with a joy that a little boy who looks like his friends, who feels like one of the crowd, feels. A child who can go to the bathroom and for now, not feel afraid of being laughed at. He ran, jumped, skipped and fell down in them.
This is my lesson in learning to let go, just a little bit more. Since he was born in such a fearful way I've wanted to protect him in a way I have never felt about anyone else. When he is hurt I can feel it in my body. A physical sensation of his pain, as though I am still trying so hard to keep him safe. That slippery little boy. He is sliding into understand this world and the feelings that come with being part of a pack, of wanting to fit in. I get that. I honor that.
With arms wide open, I love those Nikes on my little one.