I want to tell Waylon a lot of things. Mostly at night when I’m lying in bed, trying to put my mind on the back-burner. I think about his little life and how someday it will be big, with trips to the mall for sneakers and prom dates and soccer practice and college applications. I think about the mistakes I’ve made and the pitfalls I’ve avoided and wonder what I should say about it. I think about the day he asks me about sex and what’s divorce and why do people die. I think about the day someone offers him a beer and he’s only 16. I think about condoms and marijuana and Republicans. I search for the right words to explain it all and can’t find them, they aren’t there.
I turn over and thank my stars that, for now, all I have to worry about is diaper rash and stepping on an alphabet magnet.
Last night Austin and I stayed up talking. It was one of those conversations where you say how you actually feel about parenting, when you admit how terrifying it is. We spoke about our own parents, the good and the bad, what we want to emulate and what we want to leave behind. We spoke about our tendencies to overreact and to be unrelaxed. We admitted our shortcomings.
Some days I look at Waylon and can’t picture him even months from now. I can’t picture his toddler face or hear the words he’ll say. I can’t see the man he will become. Other days his life flashes before my eyes, playing in fast forward like a movie scene. I see his gangly legs and clean shaven face. I smell the fresh cut grass and hear the lawn mower chugging in the backyard. I feel my love grow.
It’s a funny thing, to be in charge of a life. We hold it like a robin’s egg even though it’s more like the bird itself; wild, independent, slowly slipping away.