September 15, 2005

Looking Backwards

I miss so many things right now. I miss opportunities missed. I miss the years that are gone. I miss simpler things. I miss the newness of life that a baby brings. I miss the ocean. I miss the mountains. I miss San Diego. I feel melancholy and a longing for a taste of the past. My oldest son is almost to the age I was when I met his father. At fifteen, he's only a few years away from being a "legal adult". All of a sudden I'm painfully aware of the fact that he's growing up at unstoppable speeds. I miss his little boy days. Lately, whenever I hear the song, Ocean Breathes Salty, it makes me sad. It's a rather sad song. It tugs at my heart and I don't even know why. It makes me look back at all the good and bad things I can't change. There's a million things I would have done differently in my life from the beginning until now and surely many of those things are in regards to my early days of mothering.

For some reason I connect that song to J lately and I feel a sense of sadness for the years gone by. I was so very young when I had him and not exactly in a good place at the time. I was young, in love, angry, hopeful, and foolishly naive. And like all parents, I did some of all the wrong things with the right intentions. Being a young mom and from a crazy upbringing, I felt like I had something to prove. I know at times I expected too much of him and I was too hard on myself. When you talk to your child on the phone, no matter at what age, they always sounds so small and adorable. And in the same way, I'd look back at different stages of his early years and I could see he was just a baby. When you're standing next to an almost grown child, any child under nine years old is a baby.

Those days are gone and like all moms, I would make some changes. But I look forward to the years to come with J and all the trials and triumphs we'll have as we watch him become a young man.

It doesn't make me miss those little boy smiles and that little boy sense of humor any less though. Your child's hug is one of the most beautiful things you can be given in this world. There's deep sense of communication and unspoken dialogue being exchanged and no one thing says I love you the most without using a single word. I'm fortunate that I can still get those hugs from J, but boy do I miss his little boy cuddles. I do know though, soon I will be wondering why I ever tried to run from one of his sweaty, puppy dog smelling embraces, as hugs will be few and far between.

I wish I didn't have this sense of emptiness about his growing up. I feel lately like I didn't get my fill of the little J because I was too busy with a big family right away and too concentrated on a special needs child.

I know my feelings can't be unique. What parent doesn't embrace the growing up years with excitement and some nostalgia. Yet, some of J's littlest years were met with parental depression, difficult circumstances, and even family separations. Things happenend to his little world that I couldn't control and even though it all worked out in the end and he was loved and adored, I am a mom. Therefore I have guilt.

I think if I had to examine why I think back on this so much lately is that LiL J reminds me so much of Big J. In many ways LiL' J is a lot like J was. They look so much alike. Their expressions and mannerisms are very similar. Their interests in toys, movies and games are almost identical. When I realized what LiL' J's name meant I couldn't help but find it a tad ironic. LiL J's name means "holder of the heel","he who replaces", "representive" and "supplanter".

LiL' J does indeed at times feel like a representation of J and I feel this great privilege to be the mother of these boys. They are not the same boys and I am glad for that. Even so, sometimes when I see LiL' J I will literally be transported to a memory of J at the exact same age. I will look at LiL J's hands as he holds a crayon and it's like looking back into time when his older brother sat and colored masterpieces for me. I can still see his pensive expression and chubby little fingers firmly clutching the fat crayons as his tongue hangs out partially. Every squint of the eye when they talk is the same. I can remember J's facial expressions when he spoke or was spoken to and the way he moved his hands. It's a moving image in my mind met with a living model. Now, LiL J is almost an exact copy. When someone cries, J will walk over and wipe their tears and hug them. When J was this age and someone cried, he'd do the same thing. If someone fought J used to walk over to them and make them hold hands. Or he'd put their heads together to kiss. It's deja vu everyday around here lately.

Maybe I'm just weird, but certains songs have a way of evoking a strong emotion or memory and even though the song's content may have nothing to do with how I feel, it's still like a door to the past is pushed open and I want to go back through it, rearrange some furniture and finish up a few undone things before I shut the door.