Mihiretu’s cast is now off. He walks with a limp but in time that will go away; there should be no lasting physical effects of his injury. What will stay, I think, is his newfound softness, his willingness to be vulnerable, his trust in us.
He asks me many times a day, “Mama, do you yuv me?”
Every time I answer, “I love you so much, buddy. More than I can say.”
“You yuv me mo’ than Lana? Mo’ than Mae? Mo’ than Daddy?”
Here I explain that I can’t love one of my children more than the other. That these five people in our immediate family (like any self-respecting New-Age woman, I include myself in that number), that these five are more precious to me than anything in the world. I love them, I love him, as much as I can possibly love. From the bottom of my heart, as my parents would say.
In his newly unlocked passion for me, he is jealous of every person that I talk to. When we go to pick up the girls from school, he watches carefully for my friend, Ann, in the distance. When he spots her, he yells, “Don’ talk to Ann! Don’ talk to Ann!” If I am daring enough to approach her, for a fix of girlfriend to get me through the rest of the day, he pulls on me and pokes at me, wraps his arms around my head and screams in my ear. It’s not attractive behavior, but I see where it’s coming from.
“How long w’you yuv me, Mama?” he’ll ask.
“Always,” I tell him resolutely.
“Not when yo’ dead,” he’ll say, peeking at me from the corner of his eyes, hoping that he’s wrong.
“I’ll love you after I’m dead,” I say. “My dad is dead and my mom is dead but I still feel their love. I’ll keep loving you forever.”
“To ‘finity and be-ond?” He’s a fan of Toy Story.
“To infinity and beyond,” I assure.
“You yuv me mo’ than yo’ mama?” he’ll ask.
“I love you differently,” I tell him, brushing his curls from his forehead with my palm. “You know how you feel about me? That’s how I feel about my mama. But when you have a kid you’ll know how I feel about you.”
Pacified, he’ll nod his head, skipping ahead to scout for more of my girlfriends, preparing his karate chops to ward them off.
It was my mother’s birthday yesterday, the first one since she died. I thought of her all day, of how she loved me, of how I loved her, about how that love keeps on going even though she’s not here anymore.
I think, too, about Mihiretu’s birth mother, about how she must have loved him, about how that love must translate, must travel, from whatever world is next. He’s got to feel it. That mama’s love and this mama’s love, my mama’s love, all of it whirling around us in the breeze, holding us up.