Telescope. Microscope. Moon.

Happy 13th Birthday

As I start my van this morning, The Waterboys “The Whole of the Moon,” floods the speakers. He looks at me, dimple catching the light, eyes sparkling, and launches into the lyrics with me, lungs open, windows cracked.

“I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands,”

For thirteen years, this morning, nearly every morning, I’ve woke to his cries or his laughter, his voice in my ears. It’s happened, this morning, I am caught up in the great race of his childhood. How are we thirteen?

“You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels
To reach too high

Too far too soon
You saw the whole of the moon”

He tells me he has goals for this year, his fourteenth. “I’d like to get in better shape. But more, I think, I’d like to work on my outward kindness. Sometimes I don’t have patience when people need something little. Like, one time, this kid at school wanted me to play rock paper scissors with him and I said no but for no reason. And if that would have brought him joy and brought me nothing hard, why shouldn’t I?”

“It’s okay to sometimes not give and give.”

“Then what are we doing here?”

“I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon”

He stops me, many mornings, to point at the sun as it crests the horizon. He stops me, many mornings, to remind me that we are privileged. He stops me, many years and years now, to remind me that there is beauty in a rain-dirtied roadside, in the lines of a drink-tired face, in the stories to be told and the ones already held in hopeful hearts.

“I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered I guessed and I tried
You just knew”

Where I see challenges, he creates just for joy. The summer his dad and I separated he lost sleep and hair and he is the glue that has held us, will hold us. It’s too much to ask, of course. He is only thirteen. But like he wakes before sunrise, assumes a yoga pose, asks me to take a moment for intention, he will.

“Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars”

The mythical and magical still delight him. He’s moved to awe by a guitar riff, a letter from a grandmother. He texts me, late one evening, while I am gone. “Is it too late to call my Babcia? She’s been on my mind all day.” He takes every moment seriously and none too much so, too. There isn’t anyone I’ve ever met that doesn’t love him. I imagine that’s weighty. I imagine that’s light.

“You climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like comet
Blazing your trail
Too high too far too soon
You saw the whole of the moon”

I see the crescent. For thirteen years he’s lifted my gaze and pointed out the whole of the moon.

Craters and valleys, long nights and limitless days, the rise and the fall. He came like a comet and has changed my actual world.

Happy 13th to my big feeler, my great creative, my joyful boy. Telescope, microscope, vision. To the moon.

Telescope, microscope, vision. To the moon. www.natalielafranceslack.com and www.verbstorytelling.com

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