February 2, 2010

Has it really been that long?

This month, C turns 9. I shouldn't be surprised by this...after all, I was there when he was born. I remember the pain quite clearly, thank you. But still...it shocks me to realize that he is going to be 9!

I look at him, and sometimes I still see my little boy. My baby that I brought home from the hospital, stayed home with and took care of, and couldn't bear to go back to work when my maternity leave was up. The little boy that I stayed home with and then couldn't stand the thought of going back to work when my marriage ended and I had no choice.

Other times, I see little hints of the man he's going to be someday, someday sooner than I expect or want. His hands are already getting big, and getting the prominent veins that men often have. His face is starting to change too. Probably not in any way noticeable to anyone else, but I see it. He's nearly as tall as I am now, probably by his next birthday, he will be as tall as me, if not taller. His sperm donor was quite tall, as are my parents, but I am on the short side. I used to joke when he was just a baby that one day he would be taller than me, and now that day is almost here.

I also used to joke that I wanted to keep him little forever. I used to swear I was going to invent something, anything, that would keep him my little boy forever. Now, more than ever, I find myself wishing I could do that.

He's growing up way faster than I am ready for. This year he's 9, but soon he'll be 13, or 16, or 18, and I'm not ready. I mean, the first 9 years passed in the blink of an eye, so I can't imagine the next 9 are going to be any slower.

I'm so scared that I can't do a good enough job as his mother to keep him from making huge mistakes that will alter the rest of his life. I worry that he's got too much of his sperm donor in him, and will turn out like him. I know everyone says that the way I raise him is what really counts, but who really knows that for sure?

And yet, at the same time that I have all these fears and doubts, I also can't wait to see what kind of man he's going to be. I want to know what he will do with his future, who he will marry, what kind of kids he will have. Will he be a better father than his own was? I hope so.

I hope he's had enough good male influences in his life to make him better than his sperm donor. My father is a great man, and has always been there for me and the kids. I hope C has paid attention, and is learning from my dad. D has only been around a few months, but I hope he will be around forever. I know he is a lot like my father, and there is a lot about D that I hope C will learn from him about what a man should be. I've had a few male friends, but I've always been hesitant to bring them around the boys. Not only to avoid confusion over whether we're friends or more, but also because those friends are not always the best example of men. They're nice guys, but...sometimes they have issues. And unfortunately, my grandfather, uncles, and cousins all live in another state, so even though they are all wonderful men, they're not in positions to have any influence on my boys.

I've dated since my divorce, but not a whole lot. Part of the reason was that I didn't want to take time from my boys, part of it was that I didn't meet guys that I really wanted to date. After my divorce, when I realized I was going to be raising two boys on my own, trying to make them into men without any real clue how to do that, one thing I did know was that my relationships with men were going to influence my boys. The type of man I would bring home to meet my children would teach them what I think a man should be like, and I didn't want to give them the wrong impression by bringing home the wrong kind of man. Which is why it took 6 years and meeting D before ANY man met the boys. No other man met my standards for what kind of man I would want my sons to look up to. That's not to say I'm dating D just because he could be a good influence, because I'm not. It's just a great added bonus that he's the kind of man I would want my sons to look up to.

Sperm donor is a great example of the kind of guys I used to date (well, except for the whole cheating, lying, blah blah blah):fun to hang out with, intent on showing me a great time with concerts and nightclubs as our dates and not much more than that. Intelligence was a hit and miss thing, and the seriousness of the relationship often depended on how hard I wanted to push for a label. If I didn't push for a label, it wasn't very serious. If I did push, it either got serious or it ended. Either way, it was for the best, but I hated having to push.

Which is another reason I am glad I have my sons. They are the reason that I realized that I needed to change the kind of guy I date. I wouldn't have given D a second look before my kids, because he's gone so much, and he reminds me of my dad. I just never pictured myself with someone like him. Someone who works so hard, even if it's not worth it, who cares so much about everyone around him, who treats me the way a woman should be treated, who looks at me as more than just a girlfriend. He actually wants a relationship, something that can actually lead to a real, long-lasting future. Deep down, that was always what I wanted, but for whatever reason, I never really tried to get it. Without my sons, I might never have found D. I would have kept dating the same kind of guys and spent my entire life miserable and missing out on what I really wanted.

I can't believe C is going to be 9 this month. When I was pregnant with him, I remember wishing that he could be born already, because I was miserable with morning sickness and various pregnant aches and pains. My mom told me I shouldn't wish that, because once you have kids, the time flies by. I didn't take her seriously then, but I do now. I can still almost feel the weight of him in my arms as a newborn, I can still clearly see myself putting him in his bassinet, or crying right along with him when he was up half the night with an upset tummy or teething. And now, he's lost several baby teeth already, he often doesn't want a kiss goodbye or good night, and he already has the attitude of a teenager (those moments are when I most wish he was still a baby!). And J is not far behind.

As much as he will hate it, and as mad as he will get at me, I am going to grab C tonight and give him a huge hug and a kiss, and if I can get him to hold still long enough, I am going to hold him and pretend he's still my very little boy.

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