Best of 2009: Fore!

The following is a re-post published on May 22nd, the day before Archer's 4th birthday.

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!