Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Heidi Grows Up





My son, now 11, is starting ::hereIbitemyknuckleandchokebackmytearsalittle:: to become a man. He wears deodorant in Spice Ball Xtreme Dirt Bike Blue Diamond, or something. He's getting hairy. He's eleven.

Girl, you'll be a woman soon. (I'm a big Neil Diamond fan and I don't care who knows it.)

Heidi Grows Up, A Sequel To Heidi (above) is a sequel nobody wants. She's wearing a wan half smile, at best. There's a lot ahead, Heidi. That Alpine mountain off in the distance like a New York egg cream; you're going have to huff up it. You're probably going to want to throw away that bouquet of flowers.

Same for my son. That's middle school. And here, in Privateschoolandia, that means put an Under Armour logo on it, lacrosse sticks, time trials, LAX (saying it like that) and face-off-and-get-off (a LAX expression), and pre-algebra, and first crushes, and the conversation about the heroin epidemic, and sex, and how the amazing Dutch talk to their children about sex and love and respect at the same time, together, and that's so amazing and progressive, and god knows what other monsters under the bed exist for boys.

I know, for him, "Tough" is going to be one of them.

He asked me last night when I kissed his forehead that smells like hay, "Mom? Am I tough? Am I. You know. Tough."

It's a word that as a girl, never even crossed my mind. Even now as a grown-up woman I never think about toughness. I think about my triceps and how I don't have them. ::Ibitmyknuckleandchokedbackmytearsalittlemore:: at his age I was concerned with being cute.

Both suck. Tough and cute. "They're straightjackets of gender." Yeah, I said that. I said that to him. "In neither one can you move about the cabin as you are free to do once the plane reaches altitude." I told him that. About altitude. And gender. Mixed metaphors about flying and growing up as I mumbled something something something Heidi. She had to grow up too.

And he was like, "What, Mom? What is that? Wisdom? Why don't you just take me to the library. To the puberty section."




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