Saturday, February 17, 2007

My Middle Son

It occurs to me that, although I have identified myself as the mother of 3 boys, I haven't said the first word about my family or actually being a mother, as of yet. Today is the day to write about one of those most precious to me.
Today is the 12th birthday of my middle son, Zee. He's on the cusp of adolescence but is still a child. His best friend spent the night, as he has done every Friday night since basketball season started. They've been friends for years and have that easy comfort that old, young friends have in each other's company. Scott is a very sweet boy; mellow and secure. They both wear footie pajamas and they sleep in Zee's twin bed under separate blankets. They're so innocent and beautiful with their long, shaggy hair and silliness. Carmac, my 4 year old, follows them around imitating everything they do while totally bossing them around. They're kind to him and mostly patient.
Each of my children has been a gift of love and an incredible opportunity for learning. Zee is the child least like me in temperament (much more like Hammy). From him I am learning to listen more than speak. From him I am learning compassion as he embodies it. From him I am learning joy in simplicity.
A story about Zee: Several years ago, Hammy's grandfather was in the hospital on his death bed. He was in his 80s and had been ill on and off for years. He was a very egotistical man, self-centered and rather petty (he would, for example, give gifts that he would later decide to give to someone else so he'd call the first recipient up and say "you know that watch I gave you? I need it back" and he'd make you come to his house to return it. And this wasn't a symptom of senility or old age; he'd done it all his life). We took the boys up to the hospital to see Granddaddy; Zee must have been around 6 or 7. We walked in. A couple of other relatives were already there. My oldest hung back exactly as I would have done as a child, very uncomfortable and a little afraid of illness. Zee, though, walked right up to Granddaddy's bed, took his hand and looked him right in the eye. Someone offered Zee a chair and he sat and held Granddaddy's hand the whole visit. I think he gave Granddaddy more love and comfort in just sitting with him than any of the words by his children and grandchildren and longtime friends. Zee did the same thing 4 years ago when Hammy's Granny (on the other side) was in her last days. Z has a depth of understanding that I find difficult to comprehend but admire beyond words. He has a powerful intuition which guides him in amazing acts of kindness. Babies and small children adore him and he loves to be with them. Zee makes me want to be a better person, more like him.
Today we are eating at a diner for lunch and ordering milk shakes. Then we're going to the science center for lots of noisy fun. When we get home we will have cake and ice cream and we'll tell the story of Zee's homebirth and talk about his pink, chubby babyhood. It's a snowy day, perfect for storytelling and celebration.
I thank God, today, for the wonderful gift of Zee.

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