He will be eight years old next week! So from now on, when I think of the question, where will I be ten years from now? The answer would include, being the mother of an adult son!
As I watch him grow, I’m thrilled and terrified all at once. He has completely lost all the baby charm, and is now this “thinking” being that pries into my eyes and looks into my heart, unsettling me with the revelations of my true feelings, using simplistic but precise terms.
I will miss this period of his self discovery, when he is trying to understand the world around him. He has always being my favorite comedian. The innocent questions he asks often send me reeling with laughter.
Easter is around the corner, and as he tries to explain what he understands of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection he says “Mama, soon Buddha’s friend will be hanged and they will but nails on his hand, and he will die, and then wake up again”. I asked him “do you know who Buddha friend is, it is Jesus Christ”, then he replies “No! Jesus can’t be Buddha’s friend, then how come Buddha can’t speak English”. I continue to get him ready for school, then he asks again, so Buddha will also be killed this Easter, I reply “no, Buddha wasn’t killed, he died an old man”. His emphatic reply was “No! Buddha didn’t die an old man; he died as a statue, why do you think his statues are everywhere?” at this point I don’t bother explaining further, I am too busy laughing.
My favorite conversation was once when he asked, “Mama can we go to the beach later?” I answer and say, “yes if you are a good boy we will go”, then he starts to bit his fingers, feigning nervousness, “ahhh! but that’s too hard, which means we will never go to the beach”.
As he grows older, he is much more fun to be with; he can help out with chores like taking out the trash, and doing the dishes if he is in the mood. Even little errands around the house like getting me a pen, or a glass of water make me feel so elated. He was just a baby, full of needs and wants, but now, we can actually have conversations, interact, and more importantly, I can learn from him.
And the most important lesson I have learnt so far is, everybody needs to be reassured. He is in constant need of physical and verbal reassurance that he is loved, I often thought this reassurance reduced as they grow older, but it actually increases.
It is a very important factor we parents,( especially African parents) tend to take for granted, it’s easy to kiss and cuddle a cute baby, but as they grow older, the physical reassurance reduces, and the verbal one is mostly none existent. I have learnt is actually the other way round, the older children get, the more they need to be reassured they are loved and respected.
And the best part of it all ,is that, both love and respect are highly reciprocal.