I tend to forget that Sebastian is only six years old with all this stuff that’s going on at this age: he’s learning to read pretty damn well, he is athletic beyond anything I could have imagined (Scholarship!), including skateboarding at daredevil levels (Sponsorship!). He has a girlfriend and a growing consciousness of himself and others. He has developed a style of dress which is half skater, half Rock’n’Roll. We have conversations about fairly complex things, such as why we give to those in need and how it makes us feel when we do. Or we talk about poop. And he farts on me and punches me in the nuts. He goofs off easily when he’s getting dressed and ready and I have to intercept and parent. I drive him to the skatepark, to karate, to soccer, to baseball practice, to auditions, and to birthday parties. Our schedule is full. There’s homework, drum lessons, playdates, and fart jokes. There’s laughter and tickles and more farts. There’s rebellion and the testing of boundaries, his desire for independence has kicked in. Big time. His presence is a fireball that we’re never able to quite catch up to as parents.
And then, just like that, he gets sick. The speed train comes to a screeching halt.
I can’t remember the last time he was sick. Not like this: burning fever, puking throughout the night, diarrhea, thermometer in the butt, red cheeks, glassy eyes, sluggishness, a complete loss of energy. That’s a throwback to the early years.
Happy New Year. At least we made it through Christmas. I can’t imagine what losing Christmas to a flu like this would do to a child at this age.
Anyway, all of a sudden the energy has evaporated and Sebastian has reverted to being a toddler who craves touch, comfort, and cuddles. One who’s in dire need of nurture and loving care. It’s sad to see my son suffer like this yet part of me is embracing this flashback to a younger age when we were more in need as parents, before he knew how to switch TV inputs from Xbox to Apple TV. I like being needed, I like being a source of nurture and comfort. I enjoy being that for my son even if he prefers mom for comfort over me. And that’s OK. Why wouldn’t he? I would too if I was him.
I’m happy to have a temporary little toddler again. He’s much bigger and heavier now. But I can provide love and care as he’s taking a short break from growing older, busier, bigger, faster, and more independent. And from punching me in the nuts. That I could live without upon his recovery.
Gotta go, he’s yelling for me to turn on the skateboarding game. He can usually do that himself.
-Bad Papa West
Postscript: I’m taking it all back since the day after this writing I succumbed to the same stomach bug Sebastian had while he’s recovered and full of energy once again. Brat.