Last week you came home hands playing a balancing game with your books and winter things, tears in your eyes. At first I was bothered. How can life be that bad when you are in fifth grade? I mean, you still come home with evidence of spoilage. The candy wrappers crammed in your jeans’ pockets are evidence. Yet, you came home as if you had been the tether ball that day, hit back and forth again and again. Yet I look in those azure eyes and remember, I can’t be bothered. Moms aren’t allowed. When I took my maternal pledge I think something was said about always standing by you even when my understanding wilts.
Last night you rattled off particulars of your coiffure. Not to short, go easy on the bangs, you told me. I wanted to sheer you like a sheep and overwrite your opinions. I didn’t. We are at the end and beginning. Yet I hate being the observer at times. Peering over as you muddle through passes, pits, and switchbacks with hormones pulsing. It is hard to not be the strict warden every moment of the day. Sometimes I want to tighten your basketball shorts or wipe that bit of hot sauce off your face and I let it go. You probably wish I would restrain more. I am lengthening your leash, not cutting it. Not yet. I’m afraid if I did, I would never get the occasional hug or ‘love you.’ Yet, you seem to muddle better than expected. So maybe, just maybe some of my hair-brained parenting techniques are working.