On the High Dive

A decade ago today, my whole life changed.

I think, in hindsight, I was probably too young and too naive for such a change, but I asked for it, and hot damn did I ever get it. As of 11:20-something on April 14th, 1998, almost two weeks past when it was "due" to happen, not one thing about me has remained unchanged.

And thank god for that.

Everything I thought I loved, everything I imagined meant any little thing to me, is long gone. Every vinyl album, every trinket of my past, every book I've ever wanted to read, or movie I wanted to watch, every man I've ever loved; none of it really matters all that much.

I still really like solitude. I just grew accustomed to living without it. I still really like books and movies. I just look at them like little treats now. I still really, REALLY love being in love, and the whole dance that goes with it, but I have learned that this love, this little boy, is so much more and better and grand than anything I will ever know otherwise.

I held a tiny person in my arms, under my chin, to my chest and in my lap, and I dreamed. I dreamed of first birthdays and bike rides. I dreamed of trick or treats and kindergarten. I never dreamed of today, of this, of a decade. I couldn't; it was too far away, like trying to picture the infinity of space. Even now when it's here upon me, I cannot fathom the fact that it's been 10 years. That I have kissed his sweet face and tucked him into his bed 3,650 times. That I have spent (almost) every single day with him and have witnessed every step, every inch of growth, both inside and out. That little baby, who's voice I tried to imagine when I closed my eyes at night, now speaks of things I never knew, of interests that are not from me but of his own yearning to learn.

He is trying to separate from me now, wanting independence and responsibility and relationships outside our family. He wants so much to be his own man, and yet, in tiny little ways, he still needs his momma, even though he'd never admit it. When he realizes that he left every stinking Gameboy game he owns in the car and now they're gone, he doesn't go to his room to cry. He comes to me still. He buried his head in my lap and he sobs while I rub his curly little head. He still sits on the kitchen stool while I make him a little chocolate something to ease the sadness. He still lets me brush his teeth every once and a while, still lets me help pick out his outfits and tie his shoes...he is still my baby, if only for a little while more.

I never thought I wanted this. I never thought I could do this. Ten years, one decade later, I am more afraid than I have ever been in my life, because I realize today that this was the only full decade I will ever get with him. The next time we hit this mark, he'll be busily pursuing a degree or a career or a girl. He won't be under my roof. He won't share the early hours in the morning with me before the rest of the family gets up. He'll be his own, and will have achieved the independence that he is fighting for right now, and I don't want to imagine life without this. Without him. He is the greatest thing I have ever done, and he has changed and reshaped me more than any other person or thing could ever hope to.

And I don't just mean like this.