Sunday, February 28, 2010

28 and 2.28.82

For my son on his 28th birthday.

I celebrate you. Twenty eight times, I celebrate you. My manchild, a constant roil in my belly, kicking my ribs blue. You were never easy. More hours to push you into the world than your sister before you, more push, more hiss, more cuss, more roar and rail, more spit and holler, more of me for more of you, twenty eight times calling your name into the world.

More nights awake, falling asleep twenty eight times with you warm in my arms, a milk dud, a cuddle bunch, a dream come true. A vine wrapped around my shin, a sweet lump on my lap, a face like honey, oh honey chile, you were my heart twenty eight times over and turned inside out.

Stubborn little man, afraid of nothing. How do you control a bit of shadow in the night who has no fear? Only losing you, Mama, you said, only fear you had, little man sitting on the steps in the dark and refusing to come in. Refusing to stay away. Twenty eight times I ran after you into that night and twenty eight times I brought you back. Sullen and sodden with disappointment at such a place, this world, your turn to twenty eight times spit and holler, hiss and cuss, roar like a lion cub staking his claim.

Oh, my manchild, the things you would do. Twenty eight times a mama prays for you. Grow sweet, grow strong, grow safe and good. May no harm ever come to you. Twenty eight prayers within that many minutes, and start all over again. Chant you into a safe place, your name a mantra, by force of heart protect you, protect you, protect you.

You have a warrior's heart. Tried and true, tried hard and harder and still holding true, no jellied spine but hardened steel, hammered twenty eight times and the sparks turned fire, turned gold, turned stars that sheer the corners of the night in flight. Soft gold, that heart, soft silk, soft touch. Twenty eight years of walking ropes, and testing hearts, and testing muscle, and testing the resistance of soft, will it hold, it does, it does. Twenty eight times it holds you, and twenty eight times more, it will.

Twenty eight dreams I wish you, twenty eight candles to light the way. Twenty eight times eighty two, you hold your mama's head on your great, strong shoulder. As I once held your head against mine. Do you know how much my heart beats for you? Do you know how many dreams I'd trade in for you? Twenty eight stars I would pull from the heavens, twenty eight moons. To light your way, to keep you safe, to mark that golden path into your future, and to dream it true.

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