Monday, July 27, 2009

Coming of Age, Part 2

It may be odd, or imagination, but I believe I could feel my son as the expanse of Lake Superior came into view for him, today. I was standing in the kitchen here on the west coast, and I had the same feeling I always got as a girl, breaching the hill, feeling the suddenly cool air, seeing the disappearing shore and the grey icy water.

I looked at the clock, it was about the time you would expect the camp bus to be headed into Duluth.

There is a part of me that deeply wishes, just a little part of me, that I was of a culture who had the tradition of kidnapping the children for their coming of age ritual. Even though those mothers well know the kidnappers to be beloved uncles and brothers, they are able to weep and wail and mourn the loss of their child. I have no such permission. But I feel it just the same.

The steaming weather seems to just cook it in. My child; becoming a young man. My years of mothering him as a child; over. Yes, a new reality will grow. A new young man in my house and my heart. But that little elf-smile child, just a memory.

I spoke to him for a few minutes last night. He had read all of the letters we'd gathered from the special men in his life. He'd read half his book. He was calm and ready to go. Just now he's about settled in at the camp, there is no road in, you have to paddle a big voyageur style canoe across the lake. He'll settle in with his group, head to the dining hall for dinner, learn new songs around a camp fire. And tomorrow he'll carve his own canoe paddle, ready to take out on the wild lakes and rivers of the far north. Mosquitos, dirt, sweat, exhaustion, pain and frustration, it will all leave him ready for this next phase, his youth.

My baby. My son.

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