We watched yet another version of Peter Pan over the last two nights. The boys and I. Now we’ll move into reruns and there’s nothing better than snuggling up to a Peter Pan movie, yet again, pretending you don’t know what’s gonna happen next. This particular version had everything. Serious life stuff, mockery, teary material that made at least one of us feel that knot in the throat, gripping action, laughter. The boys holding onto the blanket we’re all wrapped up in when Hook pulls the trigger on a couple of pirates who dare say otherwise – but who loves Hook anyway even though we’re so fascinated with him. I peek at the boys. They are there, all there. They forget they have eyelids and their breathing is an itty bitty mouse sneaking to get the cheese from the cat’s paws. The movie takes them to Neverland. Just like my words will take them to sit by the fire next to Nikabrik and Caspian once we go upstairs to read the next chapter from “Prince Caspian.” They get sucked in these funnels of “where I wanna be” and that’s that. Plop!
Brush, get ready for bed. They ask for more reading Just this one page, mom… and I do. They ask for tickles Can you tickle us? Please please… and I do. I worry they won’t settle for sleep. But then it dawns on me: It’s all that unused laughter. Going to bed with it is a sin, I’m sure it’s written somewhere. Just like growing up is a major offense, the Pan is right. It’s a matter of time until they declare it one. They should. The penny drops, it does. I realized the growing up offense when I went through their closet today. Tony’s stuff goes to Sasha, Sasha’s stuff goes to… well, it doesn’t, it moves out. Pants are too short all of a sudden and shirts leave the belly button out. Can’t do. I don’t like the socks with buttons on the bottoms, mom, they feel funny… Like or no like, he does not need them. There is this battle inside, you see. Part of me wants them to stay, to stay like this, like today, and play and be rambunctious and loud and silly and spew all the toilet jokes one could, and then another part of me wants to see them grow into worthy men. Good men with streaks of childishness who will still be able to get lost in unplanned games and silliness and talk about farts and spilled guts and just as swiftly look into my eyes and say the sweetest things a mom hopes to hear but will never ask for. Good men who will never stray from being boys. Will they?
I’ve been with them every step of the way, I have. From that moment you just know and no one can describe its texture, to hiding them sweetly and snugly in a sling until they took off running, from tending to stuffed noses and hurt feelings, to making it work no matter what, to being the mama bear that growls loud and knows all that was never spelled in any books, it turns out the very lessons I am trying to teach them are in fact taught to me every day. By them. By them, being, that is. Life is fluid, life means changes, life evolves and we do so with it. Hang on, some waves are bound to toss you high. Hang on to what? How? Well, never mind. You have to figure it out, if not on your way up then on your way down. Either way, the word “fluid” will color your world. Their growing up is the brush they paint with. I’m changing the water when it gets too dirty. It’s my job, you see, since my boys are too preoccupied with painting. Sometimes we let it get really yucky though, the water, and we paint together. Often. Because they don’t want me to grow up either. I oblige. Peter Pan rules. Call it hooked then?
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