An Open Letter to My Son’s First Lover
By Abby Sher
(I’m calling you that in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt because you’d better be smart, daring, passionate about humanitarian causes, and a big advocate for skirt suits.)
I hope you’ll forgive me when I scowl. And I promise I will definitely Google you on an hourly basis. Maybe by the time I meet you, there will be an easy chip implantation method so I can track your every move and thought. It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just that you cannot possibly be deserving of my son, Zev.
He is three and a half years old and already has a dozen original knock-knock jokes. Yes, most of them end in the word poop, but they are truly hilarious. He’s generous and loving and ridiculously kind. The other day as we trotted through an afternoon downpour he said, “Mama, whoever made this umbrella did such a great job.”
Eleanor, you are in for a wild ride. This boy is ravenous. He eats and loves with his whole being. He screams and cuddles, wrestles and roars all in the same breath. Then he usually starts singing a new song he’s just composed about his imaginary friend, Marcel. They run the marathon together on a daily basis.
“Go Marcel! You can do it!” he yells across our apartment.
Because everyone needs encouragement.
I know you will treat my son with respect and admiration. (If you don’t, I will hunt you down.) Maybe you’ll see him across the university quads—he’ll be at least a junior by then and have gotten a scholarship for discovering a rare dinosaur bone. He’ll still have that wild hair, turquoise eyes and cinnamon-colored freckles. You’ll think Who is that? What tune is he crooning that makes him so deliciously happy? And how is he comfortable wearing his shoes on the wrong feet?
You will court each other slowly. Remember, I’m watching. All written materials, like love sonnets or texts must be spell-checked. I am okay with you being explicit, but I cannot stand lazy grammar. You will talk about your feelings before, during, and after any intimacy. I also encourage you to consult a therapist because you will be quickly overwhelmed by his magnetism. You must never see him without bringing snacks.
Let me be clear. I don’t resent you, young lady. I envy you. Zev has turned my world (and our tub of Legos) upside down on a daily basis. Even in the heat of a tantrum, I feel like he’s teaching me how to be truer to my emotions. He is loud and unafraid. He is all I want to be. I have just a few more precious months, maybe a year before he’s done hanging out with me, though. There will be shrugs and doors closed and a scruff of beard before I’m done giving away his old diapers.
This is the ecstasy and the agony of loving someone this much. You’ll know soon enough. So get your game face on and memorize the soundtrack to Frozen. This guy is the real deal.
Sincerely, (but not fondly)
Abby is a writer and performer living in Brooklyn with her husband and three kids. She is available to eat all leftover noodles.