Posted by GIRL'S GONE CHILD | Thursday, October 11, 2007
Before Archer was born I figured people were born with freckles, or maybe it was something I never thought entirely about. Not until Archer was born pale and unspeckled.
I've always been fond of freckles. I think they're adorable on children and sexy on adults. Growing up I memorized the freckled patters on my arms and legs: the pattern that forms a little dipper on my right arm. I remember, in Kindergarten excitedly finding Cassiopeia on my left shoulder and how I was with the boy I had a crush on as we counted our freckles together under the slide.
I kept my favorite freckles a secret and when I couldn't find constellations on my skin I drew them myself. A giraffe down my stomach. A robot on my calf. Sometimes I would find a new freckle and give it a name. And every year more of them would appear, multiplying under the sun, having freckle babies in the night when my eyes were closed.
I have been waiting rather excitedly to see whether or not Archer would become freckled, covered with constellations, speckled with little moles he might one day call "his favorite". They recently started to appear, the freckles, popping up like little mushrooms, dark scattered specks upon his toes and fingers and scrawny knees.
The first freckle I noticed was on his toe. He was wearing sandals and then POW! It existed. Out of nowhere. Several weeks ago, it happened again, except this time on his face-- two tiny dots appeared. Skin no longer a pure porcelain. When you're a new parent, every little thing becomes a major milestone, just like every silly scribble-drawing becomes a masterpiece. I am more in love with Archer's quirks-- the things that make him unique. The marks and spots that appear and form, the scars.
Never trust a man who doesn't have a visible scar, I was once told by a very wise man I met on an airplane on my way home from London. I have no recollection of how or why the subject of "scars" or even men came up, but airplanes do funny things to strangers where sage advice is concerned.
The innocence and purity of youth are as ephemeral as the wind. Babies quickly become children who swear and hit and get angry. Who cry and spit and fall in love. Who break hearts and toys and scar and wake up with new freckles, after flailing, sleepless nights.
I know that children grow fast, that every parent mourns the quickness of time, change, and the terrifying things that happen when innocence is replaced by intelligence. Doubt. Cynicism. It can be difficult to watch our babies become little people, every day more ringed like the trunks of trees, marked by life in all it's unpredictability. Little clouds changing so quickly it is almost possible to watch them grow, shift.
The man on the airplane was definitely right. One should never trust a man (or woman) who doesn't have any scars. And life moves fast and change is constant and children grow up, look different, start to recognize themselves in the mirror and in secret choose favorite freckles under the slide.
There is something very exciting about gazing across the vastness of a new and stretching skin, watching as stars appear and constellations form. Overnight. On Archer's face. Between his toes. Across his skin, like canvas.
A little sad, maybe. But mostly exciting.
**cross-posted at Straight From the Bottle**