Most mornings, when he first comes out of his room, my 8 year old son finds me wherever I may be in the house. Rubbing his eyes, still clutching the bear blanket lovey he has had since he was born, he only grunts a response to my quiet "good morning."
Then, as is our routine, I sit down and he folds himself into my lap, all angles and bones, and rests there for a few moments, his head resting on my chest. And in that moment, he is as familiar to me as if he were part of me.
The rest of our day, we exist as almost strangers. He's intelligent and curious and prickly and engaging; all boy, full of sports and science experiments. His heroes are Adam and Jamie of Mythbusters. He knows how much TNT is needed to cause a big enough explosion to blow up a cement mixer, what a RPG is. Mom, are you okay if I talk about guns right now? he'll ask me, then proceed to tell me about how a person could save their lives if they just shoot the gun out of the bad guy's hand. He knows the numbers of most every football player in the NFL and what position they play. He hates to read stories, but loves nonfiction.
We are opposites, he and I. I still believe in magic, and the boogeyman which lives in the basement. And I always hoped I'd raise a reader and a writer like me, but he shows little interest in any of it. The stories I loved as a child - Narnia and the Hobbit and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Neverending Story and then, later, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and Stephen King - he dismisses as "boring." He finds magic in science and the workings of the real world, always trying to figure out how something WORKS.
And it wears on me sometimes, when I am struggling to find a common thread between us, my mind reeling from the million science questions, the sheer volume of what he knows - already! I can't keep up. Most days, when it's time for shower and then bed, my nerves are so frayed from stumbling through yet another day feeling completely inept at this parenting thing, I can't help but be snappish with him as he asks yet another question to which I don't know the answer.
Just search it up on google, Mom! he says.
But I don't WANT to search for the answer on google. I don't care to know anything about science. I'm TIRED of trying to figure out how the world works. And at night, I resent that he keeps asking me, and I have to answer, I don't know.
I DON'T know.
And thing is: I want to be the person who is his source of knowledge and safety and love and magic and happiness.
I'm not, though. I'm human, and his mom, and I actually know very little about how the world all works. Especially now, as I watch current events, feeling more and more as if the world is spinning out of control.
I know so little.
The best I can do, then, is steal those quiet moments with him in the morning as he's in my lap, infusing him with as much love as I can, hoping it's good enough.