I am a moon junkie. Every time I look at the moon, I feel less alone and less afraid. Of course, the movie Moonstruck with Cher and Nicolas Cage is one of my favorites. I tell my son that moonlight is a magic blanket and the stars above us are campfires set by friendly aliens. I track lunar cycles on my iPhone and sometimes I take my son outside when a moon is new or full or blue. We call this “moon hunting” and we bring tiny flashlights.
During one full moon a couple of years ago, we drove to an open field and climbed into sleeping bags and howled at the night sky. As we drove to my preplanned spot, my son once again reminded me to stay in the moment and stop overthinking. He kept pointing at the huge moon, shouting, “Mama, it is right there. We don’t have to drive to the moon. It came to us!” We pulled over and I abandoned my previous plan. I spread out a blanket and we snuggled together. We both made wishes. I wished that my son would be kind and happy and I would wake up healthy. My son wished that everyone in the world was a robot. And more Lego.
Who is this little guy who follows me for almost seven years?
My son has a dark eye color that I can get lost in. He loves to run around and strongly identifies with Harry Potter these days. He recently told me, “Mama, do you want to know something funny about me? I am afraid of little things and not afraid of big things.” I think he was talking about bugs and elephants, but I understood what he meant in a very deep way. He is delighted when I laugh at him, but he is no ham. He is sensitive and stubborn, and as of now, wants to become a paleontologist or a doctor. Or Iron Man. He asked me the other day, “Are you sad that you don’t have a penis?” I told him that I was happy with the parts that I had. I then reminded him that girls have vaginas and everyone is different and each body is like a snowflake. He nodded in agreement and then looked up at me with a serious face and asked, “But did you once have a penis and break it?” The bond between mother and son is powerful stuff. I firmly believe that every boy needs his mom to love him and every girl her dad to pay attention to her. My son needed to figure out if I had ever owned and operated a penis. I get it. His penis is important to him. Anyway, he starts college next year. Just kidding, he is six. He recently asked if he could marry me and I said yes. I couldn’t help it.
When my son was two or younger, we used to take naps together. We spent part of one summer in Germany with my parents and every afternoon we would snuggle together as the breeze blew in. I was holding my baby and count those naps as some of the happiest times in my life. I imagined a peaceful and quiet life with my son. I pictured kissing his head as he obediently put himself to bed, as in a John Irving novel. I was so stupid. Everything is loud now. He wants to wrestle and bump and yank. He wants to play lion cub, rolling around and destroying the furniture. He jumps off couches and buzzes around with his scooter. He swings sticks and tells people “food goes into your stomach and turns into poop.” He loves dinosaurs and superheroes and thinks that I am Wonder Woman. Everything is physical and visual and some things are expressed by Patrick Swayze’s “roadhouse” kicks.
I love my son so much I fear my heart will explode. I wonder if this love will crack open my chest and split me in half. It is scary, this love. When my son arrived, he broke open everything about me. My mind flooded with oxygen. My heart became a room with wide-open windows. I laughed hard and I cried hard. I thought more about the future and read about global warming. I realized how nice it feels to care about someone else more than myself. And gradually, through this heart-heavy openness and the fresh brown eyes, I started to see the world a little more. I started to care a teeny tiny bit more about what happens to everyone in it. My son needs so much holding. Kisses and hugs and food and clothes and touch. He needs everything. Sometimes the enormity of what he needs is intense but I give it to him unconditionally. Because I love him and I am here for him.
Single parenting is not easy but I am pretty good at it these days. Also because I was lucky to have met someone who gently gestures for me to follow him down a path that allows me to feel a little less stressed out and to see all the advantages I have in life. I am a lucky woman indeed.
When relationships or marriages end, it is hard at first to stay in a setting you used to share. No one wants to be the cat scratching at the door that won’t open. Sometimes, people are very bad. Sometimes they are very good. A little love goes a long way. My partner and I are riding the same wave of awesomeness. He used to make the same mistakes that I made, which is to close the eyes and hope the storm and crashing waves will go away, miss me, or hit something or someone else. Whenever I feel I am drowning, he dives in, headfirst, to get me out. When I look at him I hide nothing.
The other day I read something that stuck with me. It went something like this: There are small promises. Look deeply at joy and sorrow, at laughing and crying, at hoping and fearing, at all that lives and dies. What truly heals is gratitude and tenderness, and love.
I realize how lucky I am and how awesome my life is. Nothing is missing. I lay in bed and thought about time and the past, and how many different people live under the same big, beautiful moon. And if we are really lucky, we are able to meet the One who adds a tiny link to unconditional happiness.