Thursday, 31 May 2018

Birthday letter to a boy who is 8

Dear Naveen,

You are eight today.

I looked for a picture to show the world who you are right now. But I couldn’t find one that captures your kind heart.  Not a single one that hints at your gentle, deep nature. So then I looked for one that would show how big and little you are to me. 

Big because you asked me on Sunday if I feel about you, the way you feel about Myrtle, our dog. “Is that how you love me?” you asked cradling her little body in your arms.
And also because in the Mother’s Day card you called me Rohima. “That’s the name you were born with” you said. This gesture, this simple little detail. Spelled right. So generous. 

I knew right then you saw me.

But little too. Pouting when you can’t sit beside me as if you possess me still - the way you did as an infant.  Or sticking your tongue out at me behind Dad’s back because your mischief landed you in hot water. 

Little because we can't say the word "balls" around you,  without you falling to the floor in hysterics. And little because your lanky, long body still fits in my arms.

When I couldn’t find the picture, I searched for the right words.  

Words that could explain how much you love your brown skin and how proud you are to be "the brownest one in our family". I searched for the words that could do justice to the compassion you model every day. How every single time I apologize for being a flawed, impatient yelly Mom, you are pure charity and forgiveness.

When I couldn't find the words, I searched for a way to linger here just a little longer. 

This place where you still hold my face to see if my freckles are intact. Where you hold my heart because I still have the answers you seek. This place where you still belong to us and not the world.

I searched for a way to hold onto this boy you are right now. But like the picture and the words, it eluded me. 

So I'll just say this: 

Happy birthday my big little boy. You are a blessing to us every single day.