Nothing cures like time and love.
Parenting has so much to do with faith. And when I say “faith,” I am not actually talking about faith as in Religion. I am talking about the inner voice, the unprovable, the feeling you go with that you hope/wish is the truth. In Nat’s case, I wish I had found that sort of faith earlier, and believed what my gut was telling me. I even had dreamt about him in utero, and still I gave this no credence. In the dream he looked the way he did when he was four. He was standing in my sister’s childhood room and laughing. Laughing! How important a role his laughter has played in my life! This was my intuition, or Nat, or something, telling me loud and clear that everything would be alright. But I did not harken to it. At the time I remember thinking, “Oh, I guess that means that if I have a boy, it will be okay [having a boy rather than a girl].” That’s what my naive little self thought about; the gender! I want to hug that girl I was, and shake her at the same time and say, “Shtummy! Get with the program! Life has a big surprise in store for you and you’d better get some rest so you’ll be up for this!”
I have said before that my relationship with Nat often feels like a leap of faith. I believe more than can prove that he feels certain things. About me, about everything. I look, I observe, I have gotten to know; but mostly, I feel. Maybe I wish. But who can contest this? I know Nat better than most, I would say. I absorb him, I sit next to him, breathing him in, wondering how this is that same person who showed himself to me as an unborn baby. This is that same boy who seemed unknowable, yet whom I have always known so well. This is the boy who has always been a delight to be with because he is pure Id, he just is who he is, and if he smiles at you, it is nothing short of a gift. (These days he smiles the most when I pop in the Bellydance Superstars DVD and he gets to watch all those pretty girls on the stage!)
My faith in Benj has grown lately. I used to be so afraid for him. I worried that he would have trouble socially because his development was quirky for a while. I had a certain feeling of doom surrounding me when it came to Ben and his friends. But by third grade, he has figured it out. He has his own little posse of boys. He has absolute faith in his appeal; utter confidence. How did I, such an insecure person, manage to give him this? Or was he born this way? I found that today, as he ran across the back yard and up the hill to a friend’s house, on his own, for the first time, I was so proud of him and so relieved I could have cried.
People really do develop and change, for the better. With love, understanding, hard work, and time, so much can happen. Just have faith. That is so simple, yet so much.