Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Risky Bug-ness

  We recently spent a week at the beach--well, Jennifer and Bug spent two weeks there, but I, stupidly, was at a conference for the first one. It's probably the last long, unbroken stretch we'll spend together before Little Bug gets himself all grown and goes off to preschool in September. Preschool marks the end of his baby- and toddler-hood at home, and while it's a great beginning, too, there is something just a little bittersweet about it all.
  There is still something so wonderfully whole about him that I wish I could preserve in amber and mail forward in time to him when he is an acned and insecure teenager. ("You haven't broken him--yet," says a friend.) Sure, the snake is in the garden--the world's judgement and his own uncertainty are already whispering in his ear. I can hear it when he puts himself down if he misses his swing playing t-ball in the back yard and says, "I'm not very good at this." Or sometime last month, when he worried out loud about whether he would have friends at preschool.
  But mostly he loves himself and thinks he is perfect how he is, down to the scabs he picks on his knees. He really likes having long hair, and mentions this a lot. He sings, "I'm cool" to himself. He wants to be a rock star when he grows up, and is reasonably certain this will happen. He plays air guitar all the time, and peers around corners with a shy, flirty smile, certain that whoever he sees next will smile on him. He's just figured out about numbers above 100, and sometimes calls out from the backseat something like "372!" because he is so impressed with big numbers, and wants to show off all that he knows about them. He is so amazed with himself about potty training progress--"I peed in the potty!" he shouts, jumping up and down and getting real air.
  It all comes together when he dances. One day at the beach, when I could only get him half dressed because he likes himself naked, he was dancing in his effortlessly graceful and slightly quirky way. It was wonderfully unselfconscious, like Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear alone in Risky Business. And I watched him, deeply inhabiting his body and his coolness, I felt the thrill of being in the presence of something mystical and sane and whole, as if that's what dancing meant at the beginning of time. There was perfect joy of moving, of knowing you are beautiful, and being in love with the pure sound of the music.
  And I thought, for the umpteenth time, of my amazing luck in getting to watch Bug grow.

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