About this time fourteen years ago, I lay in a bed at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, staring at a small bundle who stared right back at me. Young, idealistic, and a bit old-fashioned, I figured I had this motherhood thing in the bag after a short labor and no drugs that made me a bit of a celebrity at the birthing center.
Now, at the fork in the road between little boy and impending manhood, I am made to think that the longer I do this mom thing, the less I know. For instance, the "come here, go away" behavior when we go anywhere is intruiging, especially the morning after the evening of a great game of Scrabble or Uno when, for a brief moment, all is right in his world.
Fourteen. Wolf can now, in Alaska, get a Learner's Permit to drive, operate a firearm, and kill his own caribou (should he desire to do this). If he lived in one of the remote Native villages, he would also be considered a man on the annual seal or whale hunts. He would be expected to pull his weight (all 95 lbs of it) and more as a contributing member of the group. And should his father become incapacitated by a polar bear or other unforseen tragedy, he would be considered the head of the family. All at fourteen.
I'm not sure I'm ready for fourteen, or anything beyond it, for that matter. It still seems like just a little before yesterday that he was swaddled in his hospital blanket, watching my every move and deciding about me as his mother.
Happy Birthday, Wolf.