On Monday we talked for an hour about the logistics of space travel. It was highly satisfactory, and when we were through you turned your head slightly to the side, looked into my eyes, and said quietly, "...Mom? You know what?" I leaned in closer, feeling your breath hot on my cheek, "What is it, babe?" ".... CHICKEN FART. BUTT. STUFF."
I wonder if my brain is actually inside your body or if maybe I've died and I'm just a ghost and you're actually me living a new life in the future. I must have done something really great to be reborn this soon. I wonder when that happened. I wonder how I died. Was it quick? Did they give my organs to an elderly person? Did they make science with them? I hope they did.
When you were a baby every female caregiver in your life had long brown hair and a nose ring and a smattering of five or twenty tattoos. In your universe all mothers looked like exactly the same sort of mother, because that was the only type of mother you had ever known. I think sometimes about what it will be like growing up with us as your parents. Growing up in a world where the ground is littered with motorcycle parts and oil and grit. Growing up with the smell of two stroke burning in the sunshine. Growing up with dirty hands and trees and city brick and pavement and carrying a socket wrench.
What will it be like for those to be the things you know? What will it be like to have a mom who doesn't brush her hair for a week and won't look in the mirror and makes you listen to Gwar for a month straight? Will that be good? Will that be bad? Will you hate the smell of spray paint and wet tomato plants? What if your parents were crazy people? Will you be crazy too, or will you rebel into the dark world of pale pleated Dockers? Will they still have Dockers when you read this?
(You will learn to read, eventually, won't you? I have a lot of questions.)
I suppose later you can just tell me all the ways everything was terrible; until then I don't know how to be anything other than what I am.
Whereas other people woke from the birth of their children rocked by revelations of love, I woke from ours feeling exactly the same as I always had. I felt exactly the same as I always had, because I was exactly the same human I was before I made a human exactly like me. That was when I realized that one of the universe's great secrets is that parents aren't anything special after all. They aren't all-knowing or in charge, or even particularly qualified, and they still want to watch cartoons and make jokes about butts, unless they were boring to begin with and then they don't.
"You there -- You're not so special. You're just like me." Now there is some secret wisdom you can hold on to and whisper out into the depths of space at night. You're welcome.
In the summer between two and three I sat at a distance and watched as you stood at the foot of a red rusted vespa, glaring up at the sky towards the handlebars like you were going to light them on fire with the sun flares bursting from your eyes. You reached forward and scaled it like a mountain, climbing hand over hand until you gripped leather instead of metal, and when you looked down at the world from the summit you set your shoulders and dropped your leg to kickstart that motherfucker into next Tuesday.
As you should, son. As you should.
all my love,