Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wearing Spiders

I got to babysit my much, much loved G/Son last night. His 'rents dropped him off about dinner time, he spent the night, and his dad came around 11:00 this morning to take us out for breakfast. We did everything from blowing bubbles, to picking bluebells, to watching Elmo DVDs, to baking cookies (with blue sprinkles!), to dancing to music, to picking up rocks and putting them in our pockets, to coloring with blue crayons, to watering Nonna's gardenias, to petting the cat (GENTLY!), to reading stories and poems. He walked me through the book about Thomas the Tank Engine, explaining the difference between tenders and helicopters and tank engines. He sang Little Rabbit Foo Foo to me and I sang a family variation of The Muffin Man to him. Plus, just hanging out. I just adore this kid.

This morning, I was getting him out of his pajamas and into his clothes and he told me that he didn't want to take off his Spiderman pajama shirt to put on the lovely blue-striped Hanna Andersen shirt that his mom had packed. We'd talked the night before about how spiders make their webs out of their own bodies, spinning their own homes, and he'd been so impressed by that discussion that he repeated it, this time as the imparter of information, verbatim, to Miss Thing. When I tried to jolly him out of the spider shirt: "Look, this one has BLUE stripes!" he cried, and he cried the way that two-year-olds cry: completely, abjectly, thoroughly. And I stopped and thought, "I'd cry too if I couldn't even be in control of what I wore on a Sunday morning in my own Nonna's house. I'd cry, too, and every bit as abjectly." So when Son came, we went to brunch in the Spidey pajama top. And, Sweet Goddess, what did I think? Of course, no one even noticed. G/Son scarfed strawberry crepes and gulped orange juice (he'll never be president, this kid, plus, he's way too interested in mass transit) and no one batted an eye.

I think that I didn't do such a good job of allowing Son to make his own choices. I was a poverty-stricken, single, teen-age mom and always terrified that people would judge me a poor mother and, as a consequence, judge him as a badly-brought-up child. (When he was born, the first thing that I said to him, talking more to myself, was, "It's OK.") No such fears with this wonderful young man and I pray that I'll do a better job of always being the place where it's safe for him to be all of himself. When he was born, the first thing that I said to him was, "Namaste." That which is divine within me honors that which is divine within you. I mean to honor that. I wish that I'd been a braver mother. Sorry, Son. Sorry. I mean that.


Aquila ka Hecate said...

Your grandson is a very, very fortunate young man.

Terri in Joburg

Anne Johnson said...

When my kids were young and expressed a non-life-threatening idea like wanting to wear the same shirt every day, I let them do it. The reason was that even though they were little kids, I thought of them as people who should be respected. The Heir has grown up really nicely, like a sunflower. The Spare is more of a challenge but at least she knows I love her. And respect her. And from that respect, she asks my help in choosing her clothes.

janaki16 said...

Hi, noticed that you said "Namaste" and enjoyed that very much. Also, love your photos. Where did the appalacian poor mother pic come from? Its on Sat., May 6, '06. Thx

Marylou said...

We try to do the best we can at the time. I learned to pick my battles. My daughter, who has Asperger's Syndrome was my teacher. She definitely moved to her own beat. Once I let her, the battle lessened. She is 25 now, an artist (no surprise there) and a much more plain dresser than she was as a kid.
Everytime I see a young girl in a wild combination of non matching clothes, sometimes pair with rain boots, I laugh and smile and realize what good parents she has.
It doesn't kill us to let our children self express and it helps them to find themselves. We all need to acknowledge that we don't control others. There would be far less strife, not to mention murders, in this world if all humans could understand that.

LittleIsis said...

awww, Hecate, thats really sweet. I wish my parents had the same mentality as you, you're a great nonna! My Nonna just tells me I'm a pain on the butt. And then she tells me to shut up. It's ok though, I've explained to her that I understand that when she says these things to me she only means to tell me that she loves, me, and when she says, "I'm going to hit you with your grandfather's urn", she only means to say "I love you".
That story is so cute, though.