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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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The Cusp

He stands in the music section of Barnes and Noble, the twenty dollar gift card burning a hole in his pocket, indecision burning a hole in his heart. In one hand, he clutches yet another definitive field guide to Pokemon, the cartoon characters that have been his obsession since first grade. In the other, an object of recent desire, a newly remastered Beatles cd. He is ten years old for only seven more days. He is moving into the in-between place. Moving out of childhood.

One night, several weeks ago, I peeked into his bedroom, and saw the baby in his sleeping face. The glimpses of that are so rare now. I gazed from the doorway a long moment, not knowing if I would ever catch that sweet sight again.

I wonder how aware he is of where he stands poised, how much consciousness undergirds the angst he feels as he weighs the little boy's book against the young man's music. I remember being his age, holding my favorite doll and stuffed animal to my breast at night, weeping quietly with the knowledge that I was passing from their world into another, one where I wouldn't be able to hear them speak.

Sometimes I look at my own weathered, sun-spotted hand, and am amazed to think it is the very same hand that once closed around my mother's finger, and grabbed at my father's beard. It feels like we move on as we go through life, but we never leave our own skin. I wonder if my baby self ever visits my face at night.

He chooses the Beatles album, and in spite of--or through--my own poignant projections, I'm pleased. I discovered their music the summer I was eleven, and listened to nothing else until I got through junior high. It's a good map.

We get home and rip the cd to his new MP3 player. Not many "pretend" toys in his pile under the tree this year. I toss it to him over the back of the couch, and he catches it. "Thanks, Mom!" He can rest his chin on my shoulder easily. It's time for braces, and middle school, and talks that I am nowhere near ready to deliver.

He puts on the headphones, and jumps to his feet, bigger than mine. My little boy is gone, I think. Into a world where he won't hear me speak.

Then he skips across the family room like a runaway shadow, and I smile and think, not yet.



Blogger Pam said...

Another perfectly-written reflection on the melancholy pleasures of seeing your children grow up - thank you for reminding me of these precious moments that slip by so quickly.

3:04 AM  
Blogger bluebird of paradise said...


5:27 AM  
Blogger Lindsey said...

Oh, this just hits me right at the core - I think of this all the time, and write about it too. It comes so soon, the moment they can't hear us speak. Sigh. Beautiful.

6:07 AM  
Blogger island sweet said...

so beautiful kyran. i remember you babysitting my children when you were about 14 and listening to my original copy of sergeant pepper and knowing how much you wanted it and my not being willing to part with it. i wish i had...

6:22 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

if it's any comfort, I remember the album but not the craving. I'm glad you didn't give it to me! I was terrible about taking care of things. xoxoxo

6:44 AM  
Blogger Gretarenee said...

Kyran, thanks for that.....

This made me remember buying my first 11.....White had just come out.

12:14 PM  
Blogger haiku said...

Ahhh... so well written! My baby boy is about to turn 15 and I feel this every time I look at him. How did he go from little boy to young man sooo fast?

P.S. I found your blog through Blackbird and really enjoy your writing!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Jomama said...

Beautifully said. My oldest just turned 11 as well.

I have a scrapbooked page of my youngest at age 1, just starting to walk. The difference in his perspective of the world from standing vs. crawling.

This tween thing seems bigger.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Amy B. said...

Ack, I'm crying. One of mine has a birthday next week and I'm trying to ignore it.

2:43 PM  
Blogger thetroublewithlisa said...

tears in my eyes, the melancholy understanding. lovely as usual.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Janie B said...

Love your lovely thoughts. They grow up so quickly.

5:53 PM  
Blogger lar said...

This got me--my older daughter is 11, and I am grasping to hold on to every day with her.

When I was ten, my father said I was at that age where I tore my pantyhose going down the slide at McDonald's--an apt description, I think.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Cid said...

Lovely post, my "baby" turned 12 today and in the very near future I will be looking up at him. In the meantime I will keep checking in on him while he sleeps and see the baby he was too.

4:11 PM  
Blogger 6512 and growing said...

I have written too many perfect comments that haven't gone through. This time I'm just saying thank you, your blog is excellent.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i so value the moment you describe and remember mine all too well...going from a single digit to 2...from 9 to 10..i sobbed and sobbed night before my birthday and had all my dollies on my bed to hug. i didn't want to let them go either. oddly how only recently am i revisiting that 9, 8, 7 yr old voice..she was a wise little i offer this: just as you are able to revisit that voice of your dolly loving too will your sweet boy/ won't lose really can' are part of that boy/man voice that steers him steady. hugs:)

5:51 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

The frog in my throat is choking my baby just turned 11 but still turns those adoration eyes on me but I sure see the young man he's quickly growing into.
Thank you for your poetic writing Kyran, you are amazing.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Amy said...


10:33 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Okay, I just had to comment again and tell you that I have come back and reread this post every day. Yes, every day. It is so poignant and so exactly where my oldest son is that it's breaking me in two. So I thought I'd write more than just "wahhhh". Wahhhh, and thank you.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

tears of future recognition are pooling in the corners of my eyes. i am grateful that you share your gift of insight and words with us. i just wrote a similar piece about my three-year-old and after reading your post, my heart returned to my throat. airplane-jammie-clad boy just climbed into my lap. i'd better hold on...

4:21 PM  

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