Sometimes you open your eyes to the glinting squinting morning world knowing something has changed. Your child has grown a bit taller, an adolescent voice resonates in deeper or brighter tones, an awakening happens that allows a son or daughter to see the world in a different way- somehow the shades have been pulled up and the windows have been pushed open. Recording the tiny thresholds of a life by playing a song, or creating a piece of writing, such as a poem, can be a valuable threshold marker, for the maker and the recipient. Here is one I wrote to my boy at age 14, and later gifted to him as a token of his mother’s love at any and every age, tough or tender, smooth-cheeked or speckled with the raw red signs of growing up:
To My John
You came to me wooly and white,
big and soft and brand new,
dragged around by your sister in
the arms of awkward love;
strawberries, red and ripe
marked your birth.
I’d dip my face into your curly hair,
soft peaks of meringue near
sweet pink cheeks and let your little
body curl up inside the cave of my
ribs all tucked up in love.
Now you’re 14, voice falling into
deep rich places, body growing taller
than mine, hair tufts of spun gold.
I still love you more than all of the
strawberries in the world- I love you
redder, I love you sweeter; I still tuck
the curl of your soul into my heart,
the curl of your body in mine as I
sneak a cuddle at bedtime.
I still look at you and see all the boy
you once were and all the boy you’re
becoming, and feel proud, moved,
and deeply in love.
– Gina Marie Mammano
Where are the small markings of your love today?