As my Roan carves his way through this world, I become more and more entranced with him. He, more than anyone I know, has such a sense of who he is and unabashedly wears his true skin on his outside. Roan is my firstborn, and as such I have nothing to compare my admiration to. I mean, do all mothers feel this way? My guess is yes. But it still leaves me feeling that I’m witnessing something important, pivotal, life-changing and memorable when I see that guy shine.
At seven years old, Roan has certain nuances that are very much his own. He walks with a certain style, runs with his own signature, and I could pick his mind-piercing scream out of a park full of children screaming. Not that I’d want to. But I could. Due to genetics – his father’s side to be sure – Ro is somewhat of a giant. He is almost a full year younger than many of the kids he hangs with, but he is about six inches taller than most, and I have no idea how much heavier. He’s a big enough kid that if they jump on him with their arms wrapped around his neck and their full body weight trying to bring him to the ground, he usually can just keep on moving, swatting them to the ground. I’m grateful for this genetic advantage because Roan isn’t the most instinctively rough guy. When he and his friends start with the type of play that I cannot watch, it is his size that keeps him safe and not his agility. Ladies – consider that when you’re choosing a baby-daddy.
There are so many sides to Roan. He loves Pokémon. He loves video games and he loves music. He has a subscription to Vogue magazine and is almost done reading the Percy Jackson series of books. Roan is strong but not terribly competitive. He is sensitive and kind and totally mischievous. He has an uncanny knack for being able to defend twisting rules in such a way that he doesn’t actually break them but knows he has bent their shape. He is innocent. But he is also becoming aware that there are scary things in this world, and that is making him a little more unsettled than he used to be. He likes to test me, asking for things he knows I’ll say no to, then whispering in my ear that he thinks I’ve made a fair decision.
So why am I writing this today? Mostly because I spent the weekend watching Roan closely. I needed to take an inventory of how he’s doing six months in, on this big brother ride. He’s almost done with second grade, and becoming more independent and self-aware. I watched him closely and compared him to who he was one year ago. Two years ago. He is very much the same boy. But I also feel like I’m beginning to see who Roan will be as a man. There are flashes where I can see his adult face with his adult expressions. They melt away quickly back into my little boy. But it is unnerving and exciting all at the same time. I cannot fathom what kind of superhero strength it takes as a mother to let our children grow up and eventually leave home. I’m not even close to it yet and it stops my heart. But from what I can see, this boy called Roan? He’s going to be something special in this world.
But I’m not giving him to you just yet. There are about one zillion more hugs I need to grab from him and an equal amount of kisses that I demand before he grows up. Then, maybe. Maybe not.