Well, he’s two tomorrow.
[No, not that one, the other one.] 🙂
Weirdly, I just got back from visiting my friends in Fresno on Monday. Last year we got back from visiting those same friends (& others) in California, two days before his b-day. You know the drill. Next day was The “We-Have-This-Toddler…” Call. Two days later was the baby’s birthday party, and visit form the lawyer. Two days later we became a household of four.
My dumb subconscious is very literal and bizarre and logical, sometimes. In a way that can be helpful or can be kind of harsh.
Like – my stress dreams usually go something like this: I’m flying across campus (I always [always] have this thing where my feet will barely touch the ground, so it’s really hard to get any traction, so my feet are like flying but I’m going really slow, and turns are particularly difficult to execute), and I realize there’s this math class that I stopped attending early on because it seemed like the lecture was going straight from the book, but then I realized it’s been almost the entire semester and I haven’t been back, and I’m not even sure where the room is, and surely by now they’ve had quizzes or homework grades that I’ve missed, and also it’s finals week so surely the final is soon but I don’t even remember what class it was or where they met. But then I’ll think something like “hold on. I know Dane. I am married to Dane. I didn’t even meet Dane until I was already completely done with college, which means that since I have memory of Dane, I must be done with college, which means I don’t have any finals any more, and this is probably a stress dream, which come to think of it, makes sense with the whole bit about gravity not really working very well for me and my feet not touching the ground.”
And then, still asleep, I kinda chill and take a deep breath and move on with some other, much more normal-type dream.
Anyway, my subconscious has continued to very accurately and very believably age our baby. I give SOME waking, conscious thought to this, but not a ton, but when I have dreams they are accurate to all of the developmental stages I am aware of.
I had one the other night where sure enough, he was almost two, within days of his birthday. We had both boys, still. The situation was exactly the same as it was there at the end. Certain things were in court, certain people were waiting to hear about this and that factor relating to reunification. But I realized (in this dream) that we hadn’t heard from his case worker in several weeks. Several months, now that I thought about it. I realized she hadn’t been making her monthly visits. She hadn’t been scheduling the parent visits, either. I realized suddenly that it seemed that the overworked and bureaucratic nature of the whole CPS system was possibly working in our favor, and maybe his file fell behind a desk somewhere or something, and they forgot. He was running around (we never got to see him running in real life) and even kinda talking back a bit and needing a little bit of redirection. He was playing with our almost-3-yr-old mostly well but kinda rough and sometimes getting in trouble. He was about to graduate to the next class up at day care, the class our other boy was about to leave. His hair was thicker, coarser, his thighs thinner.
Anyway, I suddenly realized hey, it seems like they forgot us. I called Dane and was like “Don’t call, don’t email, don’t even turn in our required reports. Maybe if we can just lay low we can get to hold onto him a little bit longer before they catch their oversight.”
I knew he was going back, but I thought maybe just a little bit longer.
And in the dream, in our living room, he kept running up between bouts of playing and rough-housing (I didn’t see his face though, that’s one thing) and giving me these big, kinda rough hugs. The good, little-boy ones. But they were just exactly the right way; the right shape, the right softness-hardness of baby muscles and rib-cage, the right density and resonance of his little brown chest, and just the right tension when his little arms squeezed my neck, so so so clear and just not exactly the same as any other kid before or since… and every time it happened I just stopped and held and thought Man, that is a good hug, I need all of these I can get, for as long as we can make this last.
Yes, I have to admit that during all this Ferguson stuff I have been thinking a lot about him; not because he is all black boys or all black boys are him, obviously, but because you know. It’s endlessly complicated and I am a smidge terrified of even beginning to try to delve into it, but I just kind of can’t help thinking that no, I do not find it likely that he is going to grow up being taught a huge amount of respect and honor for policemen.
I do believe that as he grows up, because of some learned characteristics and behaviors he will exhibit, and because of deep-seated, complex prejudices, he will be feared sometimes, challenged sometimes, accused sometimes – and it will not always be fair. And knowing some of what I have seen (the teeny tiny bits of perspective I have gained – I am so far from an expert it is not even funny), I have reason to believe that he will not be raised into his teenage years with a great appreciation and skill for de-escalation and peace-making in those situations (which as the youth and as the non-professional in police-conflict-type situations should not necessarily be his burden to bear anyway). He might even get up to some genuine bad-choice shenanigans, I don’t know. Or he might be challenged and accused for reasons completely beyond his control, and he might put up with that for a long time, and he might get tired of it. I hope and pray not, but I don’t know.
I, for one, hope that he is heard. I hope that he is valued, so that he does not feel the need to try to defend his personal value with fists or worse. I hope that he is always given due process and the chance to make his case, like all Americans are supposed to have, instead of six bullets. I hope white-black conversations start over dinner tables and in churches etc. so that voices and ears can meet up — before they turn into picket lines and tear gas and rubber bullets.
Wasn’t going to go into that.
This is not about that (except that it is…), it is about my sweet baby boy. I love you always. I miss you terribly. I will fight for you the rest of my life, even if I never see you again, because that is what parents do, and I don’t believe you can really stop being a parent. If a conversation now can save you from a jail cell or a chest full of bullets later, what kind of mother am I if I don’t do my best?
The truth is, violence and injustice come from both sides (of this and any conflict). Here’s a secret: I think that I know who Jesus would want to be the first person lay down their arms, repent, apologize.
Do you know who that is?
Yes, you. If you want to be like Jesus, if you believe that he is the way to peace. Are you white? Black? You. Are you rich? Poor? You. You worry about you. You seek peace. You ask forgiveness. You. Don’t wait for the other guys to do that first. Point me toward a time when that worked — waiting for the other guy — in all of human history.
Do it for my little baby, and for all the mommas’ little babies.