When Tre was a baby I made him pumpkin muffins. These weren't just any pumpkin muffins, these were ultra-healthy hockey pucks of pumpkiny goodness. They were made with whole wheat flour, and as if that weren't enough, a fistful of wheat germ on top of it. They were sweetened with apple juice. They had chopped up raisins mixed in, for extra moistness and flavor. Now that I think about it, they may not have actually had any leavening, because I was worried about possible aluminum in baking powder, and I wasn't too clear on the difference between it and baking soda. So they were positively leaden.
But babies are sort of dumb, so Tre was forever carrying a pumpkin muffin puck around, gnawing on it. Poor little thing. I watched him with great satisfaction, thinking about all the healthy ingredients he was ingesting in his "treat." He grinned at me, pumpkin crumbs smeared around his mouth. Anything seemed possible, and I couldn't believe this luminous, grubby creature was my own son.
Tonight I brought Tre dinner at school. He'd stayed after to help set up for the winter dance, and instead of an hour of setup, he ended up working until the dance started. I fetched him some fast food dinner, and clothes to change into.
When I pulled into the parking lot, he was standing right outside the school building, hopping around in the bitter cold. I parked next to the curb, and he threw the door open. He slung his guitar in the back seat, grabbed the stack of folded clothes and the paper sack of food-like substance, and said as he turned away, "Great! Thanks, Mom. Love you."
"Love you, too," I said, but he was already gone. His eyes had barely even met mine, not because he was avoiding me, but because his world is filled with just so much to look at these days. Love you, he said, and he does. But for Tre, that fact is just one more shining thing in the palm of his hand. It's time for the dance, I did great on the Criminal Law final, oh, good, Mom brought my Converse - love her, and I wonder where [fill in the blank] is and if she will dance with me.
What he doesn't know, what he can't possibly understand, is that I look at him and I still see my coddled baby boy, with a pumpkin muffin in one hand and crumbs on his cheek.
He loves me, and it's another part of his day.
I love him, and it fills my chest until I can hardly breathe.