A Prayer For My Youngest

I love you like snow falling and seeing it for the first time with a kind of innocent wonder. I love you like shades of rose-pink and purple and and the relief of honest and vulnerable conversations. You speak about your feelings so clearly and easily.

Soft, earnest, but with a fierce little core that doesn't ignite until pushed too far, and even then you are quick to forgive (probably too quick, you hate conflict just like I do).

I worry that you'll be harmed by more callous children, kids who can't see the power and value in your huge smile and eager heart, kids who enjoy power games and you just want to play.

You are on the cusp of teen-ager-hood and I can see the grief in you about that. I remember feeling the same way, weeping over childhood toys knowing I just wasn't little. You still experience wonder and you don't want to give that up.

I want to ensure you never have to but I realize that's not entirely my call.

You are sweet and kind and giving, qualities that don't get a lot of praise when they come in male-type bodies. You FEEL things and don't hide that you feel them and that attracts bullies. You already have, and you've faced them with nobility and strength. But they are there and they fear boys like you, they fear that softness they may already have had to bury.

I think you may actually have the tougher row to hoe.

More than anything I don't want to see that kindness shut down. I don't want  you to have to build layers of hardness protecting yourself. You have to be really careful when you do that. Those layers are tricky and the way back isn't always clear. You can maze yourself inside unless you leave markers back out. Harder still for others to find their way in to at least meet you in the middle where you can hold each other and find respite.

I think your core is lit with love, though, and you are growing. Soon you'll be tall and muscled and imposing, and perhaps that will be enough to push the mean ones back. And while I love that you'll forgive them, and somehow inherently understand that they act unkindly more because of themselves not you, I see that that comes from me and I can't say it always helped me.

You are so so dear. May you grow into manhood holding that soft heart inside a strong sense of self.

And until then, your parents will stand behind and beside you, helping you figure out the best way to remain true to you.