April 30, 2005

boy children

I have a friend who has a baby boy. He is the sun and the moon and the stars. I was there for his birth. I watched him come into the world, full of boy and life and piss and vinegar, and eyes for his mother the likes of which I have never seen. His was the kind of birth I wish I had been able to endure instead of my epidural+c-section version. I am not complaining, no, I am blessed. My sweet sweet Jenna. I am not complaining, but I am grieving, and there is a difference.

In taking two growing, giggling girls to Chuck-E-Cheese tonight, I watched dozens and dozens of children pass by and through and around.

Without knowing what I was doing, I started watching the boy children. I have realized, in watching my friend's son grow and thrive over the past eight months, that boy children and mothers have a whole different thing going on.

Boy children are different, approach things in a way unfamiliar to me, observe in a way that is not better, not worse than girl children--but different. Special. They smell differently, move differently, have learned to manipulate differently--covert and effortless. George remarked to me once, "It takes a lot to grow a man." I thought, that's a man's perspective--of course. It takes so much to raise children in these times, period. But lately I've been watching. I've been watching adult men and how they think, act, behave toward women. I've been watching boy children, how they perceive, calculate, process. And I wonder at the process as a mother that moves them from boys into men.

So I watch these Chuck E. Cheese boy children move, grab tickets, pull friends by the elbows. I watch the beige boys especially, the ones that could be ours--who look like Jenna's brothers--I catch their eye, smile, nod my head, some odd woman in a booth by herself, and they look back as if to say, "oh, ma."

Since my surgery three weeks ago, I am accepting the fact that I can't have anymore children. Chances are, it would have been a disaster had I tried before the surgery. Then again, it might have been fine. No way to tell according to the doctors. And so I wasn't going to. We were done, really. We both knew. The last thing we could handle would be another child. But deciding and having decided are different altogether.

And so I think and I wonder and then I let it go. And it catches me sometimes by surprise. We are so so so amazed by and in love with our daughter. She is life.

And at the same time, I grieve for the son I will never have, miss him. I have lost him, I have lost my father again in the lost son I can no longer grow inside of me, and that is what the tears were for, me looking rediculous, tears quiety running down my cheeks, in the booth, by myself, among joyous children playing, my own daughter laughing, having the time of her life, at Chuck-E-Cheese tonight.