"Fore!"

I'm crossing you in style some day.

When you were a newborn baby I sang Moon River to you, strumming on a guitar I never quite learned to play but took lessons on anyway. I'm a horrible student. Always have been. I used to get kicked out of English class for being disagreeable. I have trouble with authority and dress codes and rules and books that dictate to-dos and to-don'ts. I would have dropped out of college had I attended beyond registration day, deferring my admission once, twice, three times a nevermind. But I wanted to learn to play guitar so I bought one and tried to teach myself, failed, then took lessons. I learned how to strum a few Smiths songs and Let it Be but guitar never came naturally to me so I quit, which I have a tendency to do when I find myself unable to do something well within the first five-minutes of trying.

I'm telling you this because of Moon River. Because the first time I sang it to you I realized I had an okay voice. Not that I would ever sing publicly, not in a million years, but to you I could sing. I could sing in a voice that was better than mine. And I would close my eyes and rock you and hear the words and it was like someone else was singing them. Someone who could actually sing a song...

dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.

...and suddenly there was no need for a guitar.

It was right then, with you in my arms that I realized I knew every word of every song I ever wanted to sing. I knew the melodies by heart. It was all there and what the hell was I doing not singing? What was I afraid of? Failing? Psh! Lame.

So I sang. I am singing. Because of you.

two drifters off to see the world

When you first became interested in the planets you wanted to know why Saturn had rings. I explained to you that they were made up of tiny particles, like dust bunnies of the universe orbiting Saturn like a ring around the rosy. You fell in love with Saturn after that, explaining to everyone including strangers that Saturn had rings, giant rings...

One night, while trying to explain to you how much I loved you I told you "like Saturn loves his rings," and from them on every night before bed...

I love you like Saturn loves his rings.

One night you beat me to it.

"Mommy?" You said to me as I was turning down the light, turning up the music, "I love you like Saturn loves his rings" and then you asked me to please scratch your back for ten minutes.

You should have asked for an hour.

(I would have scratched your back for two.)

there's such a lot of world to see

When I took all these photos of you playing golf you were wearing jeans against the rules. Neither of us knew it because I know nothing of golf or rules or golf rules and you just wanted to play.

So we ended up both getting into trouble. Me for knowing not the dress code and you for being my son.



"I should have known better. Should have dressed him in slacks."

But now I know so next time I won't get you into trouble. One day you'll either love or hate me for all the times I didn't read the book, didn't take the lesson, refused to go to school.

But to me, getting into trouble is okay. Sometimes the only way to learn.

There is always, no matter what, a next time. So we live and we learn and we hold our clubs and our pencils and our hearts wrong. We wear the wrong clothes and the wrong shoes and choose the wrong answers to the questions we should have studied harder. We try to teach ourselves guitar when, really, it would have been easier just to take lessons.

And so we do.

Or else we don't.

And so we will.

Or else we won't.

There's always next time.

wherever you're going I'm going your way.

According to Wikipedia, the term "fore" when called out during a game of golf means to "look ahead" but I don't know how to do that. I never have. Instead I look at you. I look at your sister, your father, our family and when I'm not doing that I look back upon milestones and moments and memories like one might a collection of porcelain figurines. I turn them all over in my hands, blow the dust off their tails, press my face against the windows of retrospection and exhale. Hard enough so I can trace along the lines of your face in an evaporating cloud of moisture.

That is how this blog started. And when you walk away and into your own story, that is how this blog will someday end.


In the meantime, I search the glass for fingerprints. For you in your Baby Bjorn and bouncy seat and highchair and rocking horse. You in your Halloween costumes and pageboy hats. You when your hair was short and then long. Before your eyes went brown. On your first day of school. Before you found your words. You like a giant redwood tree.

Tomorrow, the 23rd of May, I will count your rings in disbelief.

One. Two. Three. Four.

I love you like Saturn loves his rings.


we're after the same raindbow's end.

I know nothing of golf except that you are beautiful. I knew nothing of love unconditional until the day, four years ago when you clubbed me in the head and stuck a flag in my heart. Pulled back your bow, aimed and struck me square between the eyes.

just around the bend...

Your birth gave me life, a reason for song, the ability to sing.

Happy Fourth Birthday to you. To us.

Fore! Four!

GGC

109 comments:

Hanasu | 3:09 AM

Jeez, woman! You move me. All the time. I don't want to have kids of my own, I want to have YOU as my mom. To hear those words, to read them when I'm older.

Thank you for that.

Mommy Melee | 3:12 AM

Brilliant.

Rosanna =) | 4:36 AM

perfect timing to read about how a mother loves her son. I just had my little boy on the 20th!!

kittenpie | 4:37 AM

I love this gorgeous post.

And I didn't realize his birthday is our anniversary. It's a good day, a beautiful weather day, a day for beginnings.

Billie | 4:47 AM

I love you!

Liesel | 5:02 AM

You literally took my breath away with that one. It is as though I can hear you softly speaking to him. The magnitude of your love shines right through. I'm sure that you are, but I hope you are saving these entries in a back up for your kids someday.

Beautiful.

Hope | 5:09 AM

That was stinkin' beautiful!

Happy Birthday Archer!

Keri | 5:18 AM

What a beautiful tribute to your boy. Happy 4th Birthday, Archer! =D

Elle | 5:18 AM

Beautiful. Amazing. Your kids are so lucky to have you as a mama.
Happy Birthday Archer!!

p.s. he is just too cool for words;)

Kelly | 5:20 AM

OMG you always, always make me cry with posts like these.

And on another note, how much do you love Richard Lawson on Gawker? I saw on Twitter the other day that you mentioned him, and I almost squealed. My two favorite worlds COLLIDING!

jackie thomas | 5:22 AM

That was..perfect.. As I sit here waiting to wake my daughter (who shares b-day with Fable) to get her ready for her last full day of Kindergarten I am full of love and hope. Thank you so very much.

Melinda | 5:24 AM

Beautiful!

Happy Birthday Archer!

amy lou. | 6:07 AM

a true love letter. thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Don Mills Diva | 6:34 AM

That may have been the most beautiful thing you've ever written. And that's saying something.

Happy birthday Archer!

Jackie | 6:36 AM

Happy Birthday little man! I know it will be a good one :)

Rebecca, your words never fail to move me...a little tear, or at least a good giggle every time. You write what every mom is feeling, but most of us don't know how to express...while you have found your "voice", thank-you for being ours, as well!

Anonymous | 6:37 AM

WOW did this post just ruin my make up. That was beautiful! Your son and your family are beautiful.

Hugs
Kayla

Samantha | 6:56 AM

that was beautiful.

Estelle | 7:03 AM

Beautiful words. Lovely photos. What a gift for your son.

Motherhood Uncensored | 7:08 AM

Happy Birthday, to you, and to him.

xo

LouEffie | 7:09 AM

That's what I call a love letter. Beautifully said.

Happy birthday, little man!

Sara | 7:22 AM

And now I'm crying.

Happy Birthday to Archer, and to his birthing mama.

Sonja | 7:26 AM

Absolutely amazing. Happy Birthday sweet Archer. (I think you look dashing in that outfit, screw the rules.)

Amanda | 7:28 AM

Entracning.

Momma Pants | 7:32 AM

I hope that someday I will find such poetry to express my love for Norah-- that the love in my voice will resonate so clearly and strongly that it cannot be misunderstood. Archer is a very lucky boy to have a mom who will teach him these lessons that no classroom can.

mom2nji | 7:40 AM

Absolutely beautiful. You are the kind of mom kids dream of. What a blessing that Archer and Fable will both have this blog, these words, to look back on when they are older and KNOW how much you love them.
The pictures are great too.

samantha jo campen | 7:51 AM

Again with the crying over here at work.

Your words are so poetic in your love for your children. It's like your heart sings on the page. (Singing!)

Happy Birthday Archer! And happy mommy anniversary Rebecca :-)

beyond | 8:01 AM

filled with love. so beautiful.

Meredith | 8:02 AM

God woman! You are a fantastic writer! I love reading your posts and how you consistently make me go, "Wow, that's exactly what I wish I could come up with and say to those I love."

You're awesome.

And Archer in that little blazer made my day! He's so darn handsome!

Ashley | 8:13 AM

Oh, that was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I'm doing my best not to cry because your words are so poetic and beautiful! What a lucky boy to have such an amazing mom that is so hopelessly in love with him!!

Anonymous | 8:14 AM

That was amazing!

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 8:17 AM

Happy birthday (tomorrow) to Archer! (And to you, of course). I remember finding your blog maybe a month or two months after you started writing. I can't believe that this much time has passed. Wow.

I hope you both enjoy your last day at three before moving forward to four!

Anonymous | 8:30 AM

Oh boy. LOVE.

I might have to make it a rule to stay away from your blog at work, crying at my desk is never a good thing. Happy Birthday Archer, May birthdays are the best!!!

GGC you rock.

Kim | 8:51 AM

Happy birthday Archer.

GGC, you are exactly like my daughter (who is 9). For her mostly rule-following, by the book mother, it's been a real learning process. I have to say though I'm glad for it. I really needed to see that there are fabulously wonderful ways to live life and they do not necessarily have to involve following the "rules". Thanks for showing me, that contrary to what her teachers and the school's principal have to say, she has many possible destinies and they don't all have to end in jail or drug addiction.

Being a rule breaker and a free spirit is a good thing. The stuff heroes are made from.

Congratulations on making such a sweet life that is truly yours.

Anonymous | 8:51 AM

Beautiful. I wish I were more like you...Happy Birthday to Archer :)

MamaNeena | 8:59 AM

well, great. where are the freaking tissues!?

Amie | 9:05 AM

Happy Birthday Archer! Rebecca, this was a beautiful post. I love that you said you don't know how to look ahead. I spend far too much time flirting with the future. I was always uncomfortable relishing the past. Having my baby has allowed me to do this. Just this morning I was thinking about the moment she was born. How I was reaching out to hold her but the doctor couldn't lay her down on me because her cord was too short. I remember thinking that it was symbolic. That we were tied together with a short cord. She is learning to walk and I know that time and distance may someday keep us apart but she will always be connected to me on a short cord tied directly to my heart.

Cate Subrosa | 9:11 AM

Beautiful, wonderful, lovely, perfect.

(I seem to have taken up singing again too... my unborn daughter seems to love it already. What child wouldn't love to hear his/her mother sing?)

Aunt Becky | 9:19 AM

*wipes a tear from my eye*

Moon River; it gets me every time.

Happy Birthday, big guy. I hear 4 is the new 3.

Janel | 9:29 AM

Whoa! I didn't realize Archer and I share the same birthday (May 23). I'm such a huge fan of your blog, that just makes my day! I hope Archer's fourth birthday is wonderful!!!

Anonymous | 9:35 AM

There couldn't be better words...

Steph | 10:06 AM

Gave me goosebumps. Beautiful.

Tia | 10:07 AM

that was beautiful. seriously.

Robyn Hardisty | 10:23 AM

Happy Birthday Archer!
What a great day, May 23--it's our anniversary also.
Have a wonderful day. :) ~Rob

Emilee Mann | 10:23 AM

Your hella a talented writer, Happy Birthday Archer! (our birthdays are with days of each other may 21 for me)

bakersbakery | 10:36 AM

I got married to the tune of Moon River. Now it's on my birth mix (any day now)! Good song.
Happy Birthday to Archer!

Anonymous | 10:57 AM

Oh, Rebecca, you get me every time. Tearing up over the love you have for your children and wishing I hadn't rushed mine out the door this morning. What a(nother) lovely tribute. Thanks for the pause and gratitude of momtherhood you offer me every week.

Erin, Nick and Merrick | 10:58 AM

Sitting here crying like a baby.
Happy birthday Archer!

Angie | 11:19 AM

Amazing post! Happy birthday to your little boy!

Amber (cardassianvole) | 11:26 AM

You are an UNBELIEVABLE writer! Oh Rebecca, this was so beautiful. I have tears in my eyes!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARCHER!!! :D

Also--I am having another June 17th Moment--when you said "so I quit, which I have a tendency to do when I find myself unable to do something well within the first five-minutes of trying"...CRAP!!! ME TOO! This is probably the most irritating thing about my own personality, yet I feel powerless (or perhaps just too lazy?) to fix it. I am so resistant to taking lessons for things that "I should have been able to teach myself" (whatever that means!!). Rock on, soul sistah.

<3

Summer | 11:37 AM

Seriously amazing.

Charlotte | 11:48 AM

Many many happy returns on the bestest birthday ever--for both of you!

tlh | 11:49 AM

wow, what a beautiful post. you always touch my heart and i cry. this was such interesting timing when i went to read ur post. my 15 yr old daughter is really struggling in school w/grades and i just got an email for her science teacher that she was disruptive for a substitute, threw a paper airplane, had her feet up in a chair and on and on. the sub sent her to the office. she had an F in this class, now has a D. never thought i'd be so happy about a D but i was. then i got the email. i was such a shit in high school. i don't know why i expect so much more from my daughter. maybe b/c i didn't have a dad around, very blah, blah, blah and she, my daughter has everything in her favor to do good in life to be more then i was but she just keeps screwing things up. anyway, ur post reminded me to love her, just love her up. thank you. xoxo

Girlbert | 11:50 AM

I want to write something original, but I have no words - I'm just crying. Thank you for this beautiful post.

Love, Love, LOVE, to you and your family!

Issas Crazy World | 11:51 AM

Beautiful post to an amazing boy. Happy 4th birthday Archer.

It's funny, but I just realized I've been reading here, since Archer was about Fable's age. I will never forget the first time I saw a picture of him, in a little hat with these huge beautiful eyes. Ha, i even found which one it was...not stalking, just remembered when I started blogging. But it was this one: http://www.girlsgonechild.net/2006/02/ggc-sunday-bragbook-presents.html

I remember thinking how old a soul he looked and what a beautiful baby he was. I come here for your writing, but I'm thrilled to get to watch Archer (& Fable) grow up.

Brandi M Walsh | 12:01 PM

Tomorrow is my baby's birthday too. Her 10th. I'm waxing nostalgic as well, but not quite as eloquently as you. Thank you for your words. My heart is brutally exposed on this day too, as I watch my oldest straining farther and farther from the bright eyed chubby cheeked ball of mush that changed my life forever.

birdykins | 12:28 PM

This was beautiful. I'm a long time reader, first time commenter... I don't know why it was this post that pushed me to comment. Maybe it was the Saturn's rings line... You are a great mother. Just such a beautiful post.

Jen | 12:31 PM

Wow. Funny how often when I read your blog, I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. What a cutie you have there - hope you 2 have a great 4th birthday.

Ray | 12:40 PM

This is an absolutely beautiful birthday entry to Archer. The love from mother to child is foreign to me as I have no children but, you make me want to feel that love one day. To understand what it really means/is.

Questions: Do you feel that your writing has gotten better now that you have something to write for (meaning Archer and Fable)? Do you feel that your two inspirations has made you words that much stronger, given it that much umph?

"HAPPY 4TH BIRTHDAY TO ARCHER AND TO YOU!"

Brooke | 12:43 PM

Your words are so beautiful! When I read them, no lie, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Happy Birthday to Archer. He's one lucky boy!

Amanda | 12:58 PM

Happy birthday Archer!

Baby in Broad | 1:30 PM

So, so sweet.

Anonymous | 2:08 PM

Archer needs to work on his grip. And what's going on with his hair? My head feels hot just looking at him.

Alicia | 2:10 PM

Gorgeous prose - your writing is ethereal.

On a side note, my boss shares a birthday with your son, and I just have to say that my boss is truly, profoundly one of the WISEST men I have ever met - he is a true counselor in every sense of the word, and a brilliant student of history and humankind.

I bet your awe of your son will grow exponentially when you see what kind of man he turns into!

Haley | 2:28 PM

Your posts always make me cry!

clueless but hopeful mama | 2:55 PM

I'm just back from the hospital with baby number 2 and I know the hormones are part of it but really, truly, this is the most beautiful blog post I've read in a very long time....

ever??

So full of love and truth and self knowledge and wisdom. Thank you for sharing.

Lidi | 3:16 PM

Wow; I always love reading your blog but that entry was breathtaking. Thank you.

jessica | 3:43 PM

beautiful! my daughter and i always say "i love you more than..." and we find things that we really love and say we love eachother more than those things. she once told me she loved me more than popcorn and i knew that she couldn't possibly love me anymore than she does.

mare | 4:38 PM

I'm not a parent but I truly enjoy how you adore your children. You really are a Girl Gone Child! Congrats to you and your family and Archer on his day.

Desiree Fawn | 5:12 PM

I LOVE THE JACKET!

Laurenzo | 6:41 PM

i can't believe it's been four years. happy birthday, to you both. much love.

GUGAW | 6:53 PM

such beautiful words, you are a poet. and your boy is gonna be a heartbreaker when he grows up, what a handsome chap!

Anonymous | 7:13 PM

I cry almost every time I read your blogs to your children. So very wonderful. --surcey

Jerri | 7:24 PM

Beautiful & heart-wrenching. My baby is turning 16 on monday, and I totally get what you're saying. There have been days that he's made me furious, but I've never in my life loved anyone the way I love him. I really can relate to your posts, especially when they're about your kids. I'm sure many people have told you that "they grow up so fast". I've heard it hundreds of times myself, but it's so true, and so sad. Even though it's exciting to see them grow and become more independent, it also hurts to know they'll never be little again.

bookworm | 7:27 PM

the love for my daughter is the purest, sweetest, and most complete emotion I've experienced in my life's journey, so far. you express a mother's love so eloquently in your writing. what a pleasure to read. Happy Birthday, Archer!!!

Heather | 8:31 PM

Beautiful, and I love planetary analogies of love, I'm constantly telling my daughter that she is the Charon to my Pluto, since they revolve around each other more than than Charon revolves around Pluto as moon, and since she has been born, I realized as much as she becomes dependent on me, I am equally as dependent on her, and really we are just two little worlds insignificant to the rest of the universe, but completely focused on each other.

Loukia | 9:14 PM

Holy shit! Why is everything you write so amazing and moving and touching and always makes me cry?!??! That was freaking beautiful. Wow. I feel all those things about my almost 4 year old, but man, I can't write like that. Wow.
By the way my son loves Saturn the most, too. :)
And as if your son got in trouble for wearing jeans. That's ridiculous!
Happy Birthday to your darling, gorgeous baby boy! How did they grow up so fast?????????????????????????

GingerB | 10:23 PM

I love you guys, and I'd still rather hang around your website than watch Oprah, every damn day of the week.

Anonymous | 10:27 PM

Oh My Goodness, girl, you can write...you can write. WOW.

What you have is an unearthly gift, there is no way a human can have those words roll off her tongue like that. You obviouslymade a deal with the devil.

Anonymous | 11:22 PM

Incredible and beautiful and WOW. What else can be said - you said it perfectly.

Amanda | 2:59 AM

aw, man, you made me cry and it's not even 6 a.m. yet! What a wonderful post. Can't believe Archer is four already - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ARCHER! You rock!

Patricia | 6:21 AM

I absolutely love your blog, and I adore your style of writing. I've got to say, you are an absolute role model, because unlike many others, you are unwavering and honest.

As a huge fan, I popped your blog into http://www.wordle.net/ and it brought up the cutest word collage I thought you might appreciate!

Sincerely, Patricia.

gabrielle | 10:21 AM

that was beyond gorgeous. giant lump in the throat.

boxframeglasses | 11:27 AM

I'm all teary eyes and bleary and throat lumpy. Partially because you express yourself so so so very well, and partially because I have all this and more to look forward to in January. I just hope when the time comes I can find the words like you have.

Fi | 11:47 AM

Beautiful. Happy birthday, Archer! xxxx

She Likes Purple | 4:42 PM

I hope my son feels as lucky to have me one day as Archer undoubtedly feels to have you. What a stunning mom you are. What a stunning boy you have. Happy birthday, Archer.

Anonymous | 5:24 PM

Wow, you are such an inspirational mother, writer, and woman. I never tear up so much to other people's writings like I do yours. My daughter is turning3 soon; I started reading your blog while pregnant with her.You are my favorite writer!

zack & penny | 5:51 PM

can't handle it - tears in eyes! lucky you. lucky us! but please tell me it doesn't fly by (shhh, i know the answer...)

Jasmine | 12:13 AM

So weird. Really... so weird. Tonight Truman woke up screaming with teething pain (I think?) and I went in and rocked him and sang, for the first time, moon river. Sadly, I could only remember a few of the lines, and realized that my voice was not all that great. But it didn't matter. He stopped crying and fell back to sleep and I will hum-sing to that little one until he grows up and begs me to stop. In the spirit of full disclosure, I also sang him Wilson Phillips' Hold On because it seemed to relate to the whole teething/pain thing. Jxx

Jasmine | 12:22 AM

Happy birthday sweet, awesome, Archer!!!! Future lady killer. I hope you ate too many cookies today.

Pgoodness | 6:41 AM

Fabulous. This post is simply perfect. And wonderful. And beautiful.

Hillary | 7:35 AM

Happy Birthday Archer!

An incredibly moving post. Thank you for sharing that beauty with the world.

(And just exactly right now I needed to remember that there is a next time, so thanks for that as well.)

Lex | 9:46 AM

Rebecca, that was just beautiful. You have such a way with words. Congrats to you and happy birthday to Archer.

April | 12:33 PM

happy birthday big guy :-) and mama too, of course!

Nicole | 2:51 PM

Your writing is beautiful! Thanks for being such a wonderful mom!

Wendy Woolf | 6:22 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 6:32 PM

Whoops. That was me signed in as my mom. Thank you all for your lovely comments and birthday wishes. Cake for all!

Emily | 9:11 PM

Thanks Rebecca. Happy Birthday to Archer!

This post reminded me of all the times I have rushed my now 5 year old through his bedtime routine or asked him to choose shorter books because I was so tired and just wanted him off to bed. Thanks for writing this so maybe I will remember to stop and pay attention to my little boy growing up so fast.

krista | 9:55 PM

this is RIDICULOUS in how beautiful it is.

Anonymous | 11:43 AM

Great - Your pictures are always perfect - what camera do you use?

Kat | 5:08 PM

I like to kid around that my heart is made of stone...this post just swept me away. Brought tears to my eyes and love into that stone encased heart. Lovely, Rebecca. You have such a way with words. Happy Birthday Archer!

Anonymous | 7:52 AM

Happy Birthday Archer!! And you Mom?, well you bloody well ROCK! This was the most amazing post, beautifully written...your blog is such an incredible gift for your children.

mommymae | 8:11 AM

a wee late, but it's still his birthday week, right? a happy week to you all!

Jasie VanGesen | 8:35 AM

He is oh so very dapper!!

Custom hand fans | 12:01 PM

Rebecca you are quite the inspiring Mom and writer! What a moving story and wonderful photos. You are truly gifted in your writing and motherhood. Thank you for sharing.

jjlibra | 6:56 PM

beautiful post! in the flickr pics the one of hal and fable (where hal is looking to the side)if you just remove the baby and clothes you'd have a serious beefcake shot ;)

Cam Seslaf | 2:08 PM

Rebecca, this has got to be the most beautiful mother to child post I have ever read. Or that was ever written. Thank you, it's made my day.

Rosana V. | 8:04 PM

there is something special about a boy, isn't there? beautiful post, beautiful blog. thanks for sharing your thoughts, emotions, etc.

and, feel free to stop by ANYTIME...and comment, follow, whatever.

http://chroniclesofmomnia.blogspot.com

Maggie May | 5:31 PM

I have that exact same jacket as Archer!

That kid has good taste.

caramama | 8:52 AM

Happy Birthday, Archer!!!

Rebecca - That was absolutely beautiful. I'm looking for more words to convey how beautiful, but I can't find them. Just. Absolutely. Beautiful.