January is the month of resolutions. As a result, you can find every Tom, Dick, and Henretta at the gym running on treadmills and sweatin’ to the oldies. Alas, I am no different. These three years post J-man have not been good for my body, and while I would love to blame him, I have no one to blame but myself. The gym is possible because of daycare. Because of daycare, I can drop the J-man off at the gym Kids Play and he runs off without a care in the world. I get a guilt-free hour or more to partake in one of my least favorite activities knowing that he is happy as a clam.
Yesterday, after what can only be described as a bum-numbing spinning class, I went to Kids Play and peeked in the windows. J-man was running around with all the other kids, chasing balls, climbing on the indoor playsets, and generally having a grand time. As I secretly stalked my own child, this Man-child appears at my side. He was over six feet tall, gangly, pimply and awkward-looking as only the newly pubescent can look. He looks down at me through these off-kilter wire framed glasses and launches into this friendly banter about how much fun the playland is.
How much he would love to be able to still go in there.
How he really didn’t having anything to do because his mom was in yoga and he didn’t want to disturb her. Because that was embarrassing.
How he was with his younger sister in the Kids Fitness class, but they were jumping rope and he can’t really jump rope. Because that was embarrassing.
How he wishes he could go swimming but he didn’t have the proper swimsuit and he didn’t want to go ask his mom.
How it was all OK because he can just wander around and see if there is something going on.
His face, pimples and all, was so open. So innocent. His soul was right out there for all to see. His eyes never wavered, but met mine with that uncomfortable intensity. In fact, his whole being seemed to radiate this intensity. He would have told me… a stranger… anything.
And I wondered: when life was going to beat him up? Will his spirit be hurt by the cruel world… by his peers or by people unwilling to listen to this boy in a growing man-body? Or listen to him in the wrong way?
I wonder if my son will be like him, so open and fragile.