A couple of afternoons ago, on a particularly hot day, you sat on the sofa, clammy and done with it all. In a bid to wind the day down, we sat just across from each other and started to talk. The conversation took a turn and you found yourself talking about the girl in your school, the girl that your six and a half year old self is ‘in love with’. I watched as your eyes lit up when you spoke about her, I can tell that you think she is beautiful and so funny. You have told me that to you, she is perfect.
And I smiled… at the wrong time.
To me, I captured a glimpse of the boyfriend, husband and man that I think that you will some day become. Sensitive, loving and warm. I drifted off, just for a few seconds…almost celebrating how wonderful and ever so sweet you are.
You caught me!
To you, my smile and dopey eyes made you feel silly. You probably thought that I wasn’t listening. Like your feelings about your unrequited love didn’t matter, like they matter to you.
And then, you didn’t want to talk about ‘her’ any more… and you started to cry.
I scooped you up in my arms, a little ball of sobs, sweat and emotion. We stayed like that for a while and then little by little, you started to unravel. You buried your face into my neck, put your arms around me and clasped hold of me tightly.
Overwhelmed and needing air, eventually you looked up at me and I kissed your forehead and asked you what was wrong.
You told me how life feels for you when she is around. One minute you are racing your friends, playing football or playing make believe but as soon as you see her, you get nerves in your stomach and words don’t come out of your mouth. You tell me that you try not to stare but she is lovely. AND, the other boys in your class just want to play football or The Army. It makes you feel strange.
Noah, I don’t like to think that you have your first crush/love at the age of six and a half years old. I want you to be little first, a child.
I’m not ready for a girl who isn’t me, to have such a big part of your heart.. or to potentially hurt it. The thought of that breaks mine a little. My job is to protect you, your feelings… and especially your beautiful heart!
What you feel is important and you are not silly. I would hate to think that I ever made you feel that way. The truth is, this is all new to me. I thought I had more time… but we’ll figure it all out together. You can talk to me, I will listen…I will be here for you.
Please understand that occasionally, I may look like I’m ready to burst with pride. Please understand that this is because I am actually about to.
Please understand that I am glad that I am raising you to treat girls with respect, whether that is the girls in your school, your Aunties, Nan or Me… and to see you be so gentle, sweet and kind-hearted… it will do things to my heart as your mother. It gives me the nod that I’ve put you on the right path somewhere along our journey.
Please know that I pray that in many years to come, when the time is right, you will love someone who truly deserves you.
Please understand that I will worry about this. I will worry about you.
Please know that I am so glad that you have been around true love, pure and good. Please understand how much I hope you can recognise this for yourself in the future because it will matter to who, how and why you love…and how you love yourself.
I will worry about this too.
Please understand that right now, I wish that you would rather be playing with Lego or digging for hidden treasure in the garden and this is difficult for me to comprehend.
Please understand that I hope that you will remain this chivalrous throughout life… even though, you started young so some days it may feel like effort.
Please know that one day, when you are an adult or just big enough to open doors for a lady, you must… even though not all of them will want or expect you to. I expect this from you though, which is why I want you to take your time to get there. You must not feel lesser for feeling as you do right now, but don’t rush to grow up where you can help it.
Please know that as much as I love you, I will not love every part of you growing up. To me, it will feel like you are growing away. Some days I will think that this part of your life is the cutest, and I will hang off of these beautiful little things that you say and other days, it will feel hard at the speed you are going and I will want to hit pause.
Noah, please know that I love you, everything about you. I love your dirty, mischievous laugh and that you push your boundaries, it complements the sensitive, idealist and romantic side to your personality just perfectly. And as much as it breaks me sometimes to see you cry (especially over a girl at six and a half years old…or whatever age that happens), it heals me when I remind myself that you can ‘feel’ and that makes it all okay. ‘Okay’ because over the years, those feelings and everything that you go through, will help you to better understand yourself.
So one day, in many years to come when I can comprehend ‘letting you go’ and you have this lovely family of your own (the one that you have imagined and like to talk about, the one that is a lot like ours- If that is what you still want for yourself of course!)… I know that they will have a grown, confident man, who has feelings and understands himself and he will love them with everything that he is…
And when you get there, I will show you this letter and no doubt, you will smile… And I will cry!
All Of My Love Sweetpea,