I waited for him, stuffing my face full of turkey and potatoes and a piece or two of pumpkin pie. Six short years ago, I waited, with my sides bursting and my skin stretched taut like an air balloon so full it's rubbery skin becomes almost transparent. But he knew I didn't want to miss the most famous meal of the year, so he made me wait.
He was the first to make me a mother. And I told him, he is also the first to make me the mother of a six year old. Should I take a class? Is there a manual? I've never been the mother of a six year old before. He looked worried, and a little proud. This is his lifelong role, to lead us into unseen waters, to take us where we as parents have never gone before. I think he feels a bit like a real life version of Luke Skywalker, the young hero who must learn from his master but is bound to lead because of his bravery and untapped skill. Follow me into six year old land, he says. And then, a little concerned, do you really not know what to do?
Well, I know to make pancakes even though you didn't ask for them. And I knew to get you a chapter book of your very own, even though you've never read one before. And you're already on page twenty one. And sometimes that seems to be just about all I know.
But, yes, I know other people to go to for wisdom and I know to spend time on my knees. And I know I'm terribly proud of you but too often worry about being embarrassed. I know that most of what you're good at has little to do with me, and I have to remember the same is true for most of what you struggle with. I'm a shaper and a mentor, a guardian and a nurturer, but I'm not your Creator nor am I the keeper of your soul.
But you, being six, think little about all these things, though I wouldn't be surprised if you did. Your mind, like a maze of whirring gears, is tuned in to every detail and step of reasoning. I think you would have made an excellent addition to the Enlightenment. But here you are in post-modernity, and with a mother who wants you to be free from all its trappings. You're so resilient though. Making light savers out of wooden sticks and DS's out of cardboard cut outs.
And yes, you're six, sitting there with your hair falling wet on your slowly thinning face. Your profile sending flashes of what I may be looking at in ten or twenty years. Can we stop? Can you sit just like this and help me drink in every six year old moment? The questions you ask and the way you fly about kicking balls against every surface of the house and gobbling plates full of food, taking your sister for rides and shouting kung fu orders at your brother, can you help me remember these moments when they are gone?
I love you getting older, I love every new minute of you being so enamored with your six year old self. It's no small deal, making it this far. I'm trying my best to keep up with you, to remember my place and to remember yours, and to delight in the every day we have together. You made me wait for you, remember? So now return the favor and be patient with me as you blaze down this trail of growing up much too fast.