It’s close to midnight and I wake for a few minutes, like I always do. I listen to you enact a bedtime routine you’ve had since childhood. One last whoop or laugh or brotherly punch, switch off the screens and close the books, shower, glass of ice water, call your respective dogs to bed…
I imagine you, your eyes heavy, exchanging real life hopes and pursuits for a dream-world filled with adventure, flight, super-heroics that most often end in salvation but sometimes, frightening or glorious tragedy. Though I remember like yesterday silky lashes resting on round faces, tiny fingers slowly relaxing, milky breaths, the reality is you’re grown now. Your face is all planes and angles, or covered in whiskers, and I know there are things that happen in your dreams you don’t tell me about, just like there are things in your waking days that are IFME (Inappropriate For Mom Ears).
It’s all right. I’ve been there. It’s a dance, a transition that parents and children always, eventually perform. Sons don’t have to get very far past boyhood before there’s very little left that a mom can teach you about being a man—me not being one. Basically, the choice remains: become the insufferable bore, the tedious relater of cautionary tales, or join the ranks of your fans in the stands. I sometimes fall into the former by accident, but I choose the latter. Not your loudest cheerleader (because that’s embarrassing), and someday I know, not even the most important one. But the one that will always be there, in your court, hoping all things, believing all things, willing you to endure with every fiber of my being to continue to hope and dream and reach and accomplish and love.
I won’t sing you to sleep tonight like when you were boys, but I can pray you there and I do, every night, mining memories from my mother Mary heart, whispering names and phrases that have sighed from the lips of mothers since the beginning of time: Anointed, Asked of God, The Lord Saves, Son of My Heart. Call me blessed. Good night. Sweet dreams.