Everett, my oldest -- as I call him with great love in an essay I wrote that inspired so much, the mother-maker, present through all my 30s up to this one, time-waster, life thrower-away-upon -- is 10, today, the number that (says AP style) means you may now use numerals instead of words to refer to him in text. He is 10.
And today I waved goodbye, just the barest trilling of my fingertips, through the internet as the preview for the first issue of Stealing Time magazine went to the printer. These two things should be linked with more than coincidence. They are into and out of themselves. They are one, they are whole.
It is always the thing, yes? That you can hardly believe what is. That life passes and milestones are reached and goals are met and something amazing comes out of nothing, a spark, an idea met gladly with "I can!" and "oh, please!" and "let's do it" and suddenly you have thousands of dollars from 216 (and counting) wonderful, wonderful people and a team of eight-plus women and one man who are making a thing. You have a 10-year-old; you have a magazine, a thing that shortly you will be able to hold in your hands, a thing of paper and ink and the words that make you sing as you wash your dishes, sing as you run, sing as you wash milk spilled when a stuffed tiger named Calvin swooped through the air in a boy's joy.
The more you can touch something, the more separate from you it is. You live your pregnancy, you love your pregnancy, you hold on with every might in you and then you want so badly to let go, and the letting-go comes with great pain and struggle, and finally and always suddenly and without kazoo-blowing or confetti a wet tiny baby has slid from you and the cord is cut. You are two; you hold the baby to your breast and you let him into the world.
And he is one and he is walking; he is two and he knows 200 words and more; he is three and he is jumping, four and he is dancing, five and he has homework and is writing his name. Five and the tenor of your life changes. Five and the separation raises walls and chainlink and education plans.
He is six and he is reading; he is seven and he is building; he is eight and he walks without fear along the eight-foot fence. He is nine and he grows patience and deepens compassion and learns on his own how to build circuitry in Minecraft. He decides he will become an engineer. He calls two or maybe even three girls his girlfriend. He engages you in battles of sarcasm and simile. He keeps secrets and he plots with toddlers. He makes surprises for people right under your nose.
He is 10, and he tells you when you are working so hard to launch a magazine, "mom. I know what we can do with that money you'll make." Like you, he believes past optimism all the way to the end. In his eyes you are 10,000 subscriptions already. "We'll get solar panels."
You laugh, you weep, you think how right he is. You promise to yourself, you will make good, you will work together, you will create a magazine that tells the story of him and every child you have and have lost and wish for. You will search out stories that make your heart beat and your throat catch and your cheeks shine. You will carry them in your bag, on your laptop, in your shared online drive; you will put them on paper; you will love them as you let them go.
Each issue we will get the gasping, choking, tearful, glowing journey, then; five times a year we will hold close and let go and love from first to forever.
My oldest son is 10 and my literary magazine is launching. Let the sun shine; clench it tight and let it go.