These past few weeks have been challenging. I work in the financial field. In New York. Nuf said.
Meanwhile, these past few weeks have been glorious. To watch a wee preschooler turn into a young boy "I am not a little boy!" And this past week I realized he is correct. He is not a little boy. He is a boy. The painting above was done by our dear friend Rick Price. Q is 2 1/2 years old in the painting. When I asked Rick to paint Q's portrait I was thinking of the classic portrait. We had a baby blue sweater with a peter pan color that Q never wore but that I loved. However, I believe in letting the artist follow his instincts so when Rick asked what I was thinking I left it to him. "I'm thinking, Spiderman" said Rick. Rick worked at our local cafe and almost on a daily basis Q and I would stroll in, me wearing exaustion with as much grace as I could muster (Q is not a sleeper) and Q wearing - almost every day - his spiderman costume. He was not allowed to wear it the two days he was at daycare (against the rules) but every other day he had it on. Q wasn't pretending anything in those days, he WAS spiderman. You can see it in this portrait, can't you? Spiderman going over his accomplishments at the end of a long day. Relishing the fame. And he was/is famous. "Hey" casual passerbys would say "it's Spiderman. Nice to see you!" And Q would nod usually. Sometimes give a small wave with his little hand. Those little hands in the portrait, Rick got the hands perfectly. They are Q's hands. No one elses.
After Spiderman there was Batman. Same thing - about a year. One day soon I'll write about our adventures out in costume. Those days were magical. I often think about the fact that I am not raising a boy, I am raising a man. Well, lately I have begun to think I am raising a super hero.
We are conservative people. So during challenging times, we pull back a bit and prepare ourselves for anything. Last year Q took drum lessons until the summer. We were going to take the summer off and start in the fall again. He was excited. In truth we have the money. And some to spare. But like I said, we are conservative and so we are slowing down on some of our 'wants' in order to never have to worry about our needs. I explained to Q that while we did have the money we thought it best to keep it. Things are uncertain and that we could practise the drum at home in the meantime. He smiled at me and said OK. "I think that is smart mom."
Meanwhile he has been actively petitioning for a new pet (we have 5 fish in two tanks) which are his responsibility and now he wants a guinnie pig. We had pretty much said it was a possibility for Christmas. But last week we decided again that while we had the cash, we didn't feel it was a great example for Q that during uncertain times we take on more responsibility with bringing another, living, breathing, eating animal in our home. And so I sat him down and said exactly that. Not in any kind of heavy way at all, in fact hopefully with a happiness about it. I explained that we liked to live simply in general but especially now. I said the reason that we did was so that our worries were always very small and that we never had anything bigger to think about than maybe are we eating too much dessert? Or what color are we going to paint the bedroom? Simple stuff. Again, he looked at me and said "OK, I understand. We'll have a new pet one day." Yes, we will. And we hugged. And I was amazed.
A few days ago, I came home from work and we were getting ready to read stories. He was sitting in his rocker and said "I'm just going to rock for a moment and think. You can sit on the bed and talk to me if you like." "OK" I said and I sat down on his bed. We talked for a couple of minutes and then he said "I think you are a great Mom." Wow. It's the best thing in the world. Then he got up from his chair and got into bed and told me to sit forward a little bit. I did and I felt his little hands rubbing my shoulders. Although rubbing is too strong a word because in reality his touch was so gentle I could barely feel it. "Q, are you giving me a massage?" "Yes, I know you've had a hard day." About one minute later he got down and went into the bathroom and came back with an absolutely soaking wet warm washcloth." He had me rest my head on a pillow and put the cloth on my forehead (his father does this for him if Q says he has a headache.) While I layed there he rubbed my feet for a minute. "There, do you feel more relaxed?" Yes, I told him but did he think I wasn't relaxed? Do I look when I come home like I'm not relaxed. "No, you look happy" he said (whew - I was beginning to get worried.) "I just thought that after a long day you could use a little extra relaxation."
Obviously, we have been giving Q massages since he was a baby. He is a wound up kind of guy and it always helped him go to sleep. And now this week I see we were giving him more than a massage. We were teaching him how to take care of the ones he loves. And what else is a super hero but someone who knows how to look inside the heart of the people they love and respond with kindness and love.
Are we raising a superhero? I think our little superhero is raising us.