Sunday, July 07, 2013


"Do you want to catch some fireflies with me?" asked my oldest, the words whistling over his grown-up front top teeth.  He's still not completely accustomed to their breadth, so his tongue hasn't figured out where to go to properly form his 's' sounds.  That, like all things, will come with time.

"Yes," I answered, unhesitatingly.  His younger brother was fast asleep in bed, and his sister was out gallivanting with his aunt.  It was just the two of us, which is not often the case.  We ventured outside, barefoot, with the Gladware container his Gram had butchered so that we could catch fireflies, and keep them without killing them.

The grass was soft under our feet, rendered so by the frequent showers that breezed through Cleveland since our arrival. I was already in my pajamas, as was the Boy.  He's nearly nine, which means he's morphing from a boy to a tween, and then a teen, and then an adult.  But he's only nearly nine; he's not in college yet, or experiencing heartache.  He's still my Boy.

"Oh! I caught one!" he breathed.

"Here," I said, peeling back the lid of the Gladware. "Pop him in here."

The Boy scraped the bug from his thumb and into the waiting plastic.

"Why isn't he lighting up?"

"Well," I leaned over the container, bumping heads with the Boy. "He might be kind of afraid.  But here, I'll add some leaves."  I slipped a few sprigs of green into the dish.  "There.  that should make him more comfortable."

"Maybe," the Boy drawled, "maybe we shouldn't put them in there.  Maybe we should just catch them and let them go?"

And that's what we did.  We ran around his grandparents' yard, in the deepening twilight, catching fireflies and throwing them back into the air. Between us, we must've caught about a hundred. We meandered our way around the side, admiring Gram's bountiful blooming garden, and found ourselves on the front porch.  We were headed to settle on the swing for a mother-son cuddle, when something caught the Boy's eye.

"Oh, Mom!" he said. "It's stuck!"

He'd discovered a firefly caught in a spider web. And proceeded to rescue it.  I helped him, and we scraped away as much of the web as we could before releasing the bug back to the garden.

And that's when I felt it, viscerally: no one will ever be good enough for him.

I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I meet his intended, but in that moment, he was the sweetest, kindest, dearest boy that ever there was, and I can barely imagine the person deserving of him.  I suspect all women feel like this about their kids, but the strength of this nearly took my breath away.

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