I’m not being facetious or insulting when I use the word “boy.” He’s 7 years old.
You see, there are TWO new men in my life. The Guy and the Little Man, his 7 year old son.
For the vast majority of my youth, I did not plan to have children. I didn't really see the logic of choosing to bring someone into your world who, for at least 15 years and possibly for the rest of your life, was consistently going to NEED things from you. I figured that life is hard enough as it is, sans child.
In just the last few years, I started to see that there is, perhaps, value in the experience beyond predictable human narcissism (the "I want to see what a LITTLE ME would be like." routine.) All the same, I did not see my chances of finding someone I wanted to raise a child with as being so great. I also have a fear of experiencing pregnancy (not childbirth - which bazillions of women have suceeded at before me so I must be capable of it as well - specifically an issue with pregnancy. I guess I watched Alien too many times). I was very settled into my single-gal routine. When I met The Guy, I did not anticipate it becoming serious. I was not looking for that. When he told me he had a son (one of the first things he told me about himself - he and his ex wife have friendly joint custody of Little Man), I thought it was a plus primarily because I figured it would keep us from spending too much time together or getting too involved. Life so rarely gives us what we expect.
My world is changing. And, in subtle ways, the Little Man is changing me.
He’s the type of child that makes you think, “Oh, SURE. If they were all like this, we’d ALL want to have four or five.” Not long ago we were traveling and our flight was delayed. We had to spend an extra 4 hours waiting around in the airport. At night. It was FAR past his bedtime when we finally boarded the plane. And... He was fine. Patient. Well behaved. Understanding, even. Strangers remarked on it. It was nothing at all like the behavior I had been led to expect from a 7 year old boy. Maybe I've been tragically misinformed. Either that or he's freakishly agreeable.
So I've been taking steps to find room for a child in my life. I went out and bought a set of small glasses. Because it seems silly to serve milk to a 7 year old in a 32 oz. tumbler originally purchased for it's ability to hold large quanities of alcohol. Then I took the floral granny quilt off my extra bed because the Little Man likes red and Ikea had a sale on bedding. I usually get praise for my cream sauces and quiches, but now I'm brainstorming ways to improve my Sloppy Joe's (Although I have been tickled to find that he likes my Pastichio and he actually asks for vegetable soup - See? Weird kid). I experienced this surreal sense of accomplishment the first time I woke up in the morning and packed a brown bag lunch and drove him to camp. I actually passed up an afternoon of margaritas and gossip with friends because that day I preferred to go to the library with my guys. Little Man has started to automatically reach for my hand when we are out in a public place or in a crowd.. and when he does my heart leaps. It's BIZARRE.
I also finally I have someone in my life who values my ability at playing Tak and The Power of Juju.
Last Saturday, The Guy and Little Man spent the night at my house and they brought Little Man's Best Bud (who is also a very nifty kid). I scurried around my house looking for ANYTHING that might appeal to 7 year old boys. BIG SHOCKER - I, as a thirty year old and up-until-recently single woman, had VERY little in the way of stuff that they would think was cool. I had devised a pretty good dinner and picked up fixins for a great breakfast in the morning but as far as activities went I had not planned ahead. I went through my comic collection and managed to pull a short stack of comics that I felt were child appropriate (it's not that I own really obscene comics, but I'm a big prude about exposing children to violence). I found a few sheets of super huge paper that they could draw on and decided to sacrifice my high quality colored pencils to the cause. Basically, I had nothing.
I finished my flight of the bumblebee as they arrived. Little Man proudly led Best Bud to "his" room and pointed out the "cool new red sheets" that had not elicited much comment weeks before when they were presented to him. I showed them the comics, we took Best Bud to meet my pet bunnies, we discussed what we were having for dinner and I showed the boys the HUGE SHELLS of pasta I was about to boil (for stuffed shells).
I stood there, worrying about how insufficient my offerings were and nervously watching the boys peek at the pasta shells and chatter about the bunnies.
Then Best Bud turned and looked up at me, his face lit up with
excitement as he enthusiastically proclaimed,
"This is going to be SO FUN."
Now I KNOW I am a changed woman...
because that is officially a Great Moment In My Life.