Saturday, August 4, 2012

you are two, and may you always be

To my firstborn child:

You are two today and we celebrate everything you have been and all that is to come.  We celebrate who you are right now.  Sometimes it's hard for us, so much new in your brain and body that your heart gets a bit overwhelmed and none of us have the map, none of us know the territory - we follow each other in circles, trying to stay safe and connected.  We make mistakes, we forgive and kiss and smell grace's invitation with the next breath.

You are two, and may you always be.

Two years old and you've only 'slept through the night' a handful of times and not for ages.  We're getting there, maybe, but probably not soon.  Hopefully ever.  Some day you won't need me to help you fall back asleep, but I pray that these night after nights of care have established a foundation of trust upon which our friendship will grow.  I want you to always know that we are there for you in the night, in the darkness, in the waves of desert and fear and heartache that sweep into our lives sometimes, even when we are all grown up.  You never need to cry alone.

Sometimes you scream - those pipes are impressive, devastatingly so in certain moments.  I try not to hush you as much as re-reroute that energy towards words more clear and productive.  But honestly, there are some things in this world that deserve our screaming, where too many of us keep silent and look away.  Please my child, scream with all you've got when it's the right thing to do.  Scream at injustice and apathy, scream when the fog of the empire tries to smother your passions, scream when others are in need and are not being listened to.  Rememeber that silence in the face of oppression is never neutral, it's always giving the oppressor power.  Please scream for the love of all that is right and true in the world.

You're a fighter.  As a gentle parent this perplexes me (and frustrates me) to no end.  But it's the fight in you that got you through your birth, and that's my every day grateful for the past two years.  The fight is still in you and can make it challenging to navigate play-dates when you've hit another rough patch, but I know the energy is good.  Some day you will fight for justice, fight for human rights, fight for community and love - you'll fight the urge to hate, to exclude, to isolate, to despair.  Please, let's eventually lose the shoving and the snatching, but never lose the fight.

Passion and persistence is in your bones.  It's from your father, that 'I've got summit fever and no I won't turn back' - the relentlessness is tiring, but oh the possibilities of your spirit!  Ask a thousand questions until you've lived out the answers, demand justice from the government and the church while knocking on every door, and please, never tire of making mistakes if your heart is oriented towards truth.  Let that persistence produce long-suffering love.

You love your sister, almost seven months of friendship on the grow with her eyes always fixed on you, my boy.  May you learn to love women - oh this might be my strongest prayer for you.  May you love women with real Love - Love that costs you something, that recognizes value and honour and beauty in every woman on the earth.  Love never uses people, never treats other humans as objects, never oppresses or tries to control.  When the world tells you that photo-shopped bodies in magazines are real or desirable, that pornography is no big deal, that women are weak or disposable, that sex is a commodity - I expect you to choose Love.  You love your sister as much as you can, you care when she's hurting and when she cries you help make the situation right.  Let that seed grow, my dear son.  May it mark your life for all to see. 

You are two, and may you always be.


  1. What if he chooses to love men? Are you assuming that he will be heterosexual?

    1. i'm not trying to assume anything about my son's sexuality - i don't mean romantic "love" or sexual orientation - i'm talking about value, honour, respect and laying down your life for other people kind of love. i would want that to be towards all humans of course, but our culture readily objectifies women (more than men, although not exclusively) and I hope that my son will throw off those destructive patterns and have eyes to see people (especially women) differently. good question though!

  2. I am so thankful that you are raising Saf. You're the perfect mom for him!