Summer picnic #398.
Today, my 92-year-old grandmother sat across from us and taught Junior to stick out his tongue, then tried to feed him a Freezie Pop. My step-sister ridiculed me for feeding Junior “specks” of hamburg (she has four kids so she knows). And I snapped at my mother for snatching my son from me one too many times (I couldn’t help it—I’m working now and I wanted to hold my baby, dammit!).
Junior kept pointing at the inground pool and the kids splashing around.
“Not yet, sweetie,” I told him.
Everyone at the table looked at me with that face: you know, the you’re-so-over-protective-your-kid-might-as-well-be-in-a-bubble face.
“He’s too little!”
So I marched us over to the pool and sat on the steps in the shallow end. Then I swished Junior around. He was euphoric. He sat on one of the steps and splashed and shrieked and flailed his arms. People I didn’t even know came over to remark on what a good time he was having.
All the while I kept looking down at the back of his overalls—which were criss-crossed in my hands so he wouldn’t slip through my fingers—his curly hair, the nape of his neck. And I kept thinking, I am pouring my soul into this child and every day letting him go and it is enough to burst and break my heart at the same time.
He’ll be one in a week. He’s not a newborn, he’s not even a baby. He’s a little boy. And this is just the beginning.