I love the age of innocence and candor of a child. Throughout his short life, my son has only guessed at my age using the limited information he has acquired about numbers. I have come to a point in my life where revealing my chronological existence on this earth is not that important. And I like going with my son’s numbers better.
When he was three years old, his preschool teacher put together an end-of-year storybook for each student. Since the children couldn’t do the writing themselves, the teachers interviewed them and filled in the blanks with the children’s answers. One of those sentences was: “My mom is ___ old and her favorite food is ___.”
My son said I was 16 years old and my favorite food was eggs.
Neither one was correct but, if I argued about the eggs, I risked the chance of having to reveal my true age and have to tutor him in advanced math. As a mom, I came out unscathed in that school project. The question about favorite drinks was a tricky one for some though. My son divulged my favorite drink as being coffee. Other moms were not so lucky. Wine was a popular answer. I’ve always suspected the teachers of holding a trove of juicy information about moms inadvertently gathered from their interviewed informants and that I’m sure would rival that of Edgar Hoover’s.
When my son was four years old, my little darling was counting past 100 and knew more about the world. He clocked my age at 32. Not as young as before but I can now appreciate the youth of those numbers. My favorite breakfast was butter and jam toast with my coffee. He got that right. My affinity for an occasional glass of wine remained unpublished information. He also drew a stick figure of me with very messy, long brown hair.
My Son will be seven in October. He is now as aware of my true age as I am.
Last night, I was getting him ready for bed. As he’s jumping on the bed getting that last burst of energy out of his system, he looks at me and says, “You look like a young mom.” Ah! That innocence has remained intact. I grab him and give him a big hug.
If ever a mom needs a compliment, it’s at the end of a long day after playing chauffer, chef, waiter, doctor, accountant, scheduler, coach, new-game-ideas guinea pig, and rule enforcer. His next sentence though is… Shall I say, “to-die-for”? “I hope you don’t die for a long time. He blurts out. “But if you do die soon, will you visit me from heaven?”
In a matter of seconds, I had been made young, died and met God.
Ignoring the dark side of this conversation, I choose to indulge in the thought that my son considers me a heavenly mom and in how my son would enjoy my presence on earth during my visits from my celestial home. “Sure,” I say enthusiastically. “When you see a blue flower in the middle of winter, you’ll know it’s me because that’s your favorite color. Or when you hear my favorite song on the radio, you’ll know I’m here.”
“No.” He says, still jumping on the bed. “I want to see you when you visit me.”
He stops jumping.
“Hold on Mama.”
He drops on the bed with his legs under him as he closes his eyes.
I wait for a few seconds.
“What are you doing?”
“I was asking God to let you visit me in person when you’re in heaven.”
“What did he say?” I ask, amused.
“He said yes.”
I don’t know when my ride here on Earth will be over and I hope it’s not for a very, very long time. For this one moment, I allow myself the innocence of a child and embrace the idea that my ticket to heaven has been punched with VIP privileges. Thanks to my son.
[Photo By husin.sani]