“Good night Trev,” I answer without really looking up.
“Mom… will you tuck me in?”
I stop putting away the last of the day and raise my eyes; his big blue eyes meet mine, morphing before me from little boy to young man. A handful of months from teenager, he has been the typical distant being, pushing away for independence. His cherub face, round and sweet, is now positioned eye to eye with me. It was the same face really; one that lights up like Christmas when he smiles. He stands smirking, ready to brush the idea off if necessary.
“Of course I will,” I answer, being casual about grabbing any little bit of mothering allowed on the brink of adolescence. Trevor lopes up the stairs and hops into his bed pulling the red and blue quilt up under his chin. Stepping through the maze of clothing and debris, I suppress the urge to comment on the surrounding disaster of his room, not wanting to spoil the moment with too much mothering.
Looking at him grinning, this boy/man, I realize that Trevor has always been grown up to me. From the time he was a toddler, he was self assured, confident in his direction and always ready to take on a challenge. He taught himself to read, tie his shoe and use the computer. I drift back to memories of corn silk white blonde hair and saucer sky blue eyes that could switch from intense to sparkling in a snap.
I remember the serious eyes waking me one morning when I felt them inches from my face. “Mom,” he whispered, “Are you awake?” I opened one eye to meet his, his face barely the height of my bed.
“I guess I am,” I mumbled.
“Are you eighteen?” he asked; chin low and big eyes looking up through the bowl cut bangs.
“Yes.” I answered. “Just eighteen,” I lied.
“Good, this man wants to talk to you.” he pushed the phone to my ear. My three and a half year old, take charge guy had called the 800 number on the television commercial to order himself ‘Little Bear.’ “He said you have to be eighteen,” he explained head bent and nodding.
Trevor saw no need to depend on anyone and handled obstacles easily. Several months prior, while waiting to see his older brother off to kindergarten, Trevor heard my neighbor and I discuss the speed of the construction trucks passing by our house and both vowed to make a police report. Shortly after, while doing the breakfast dishes, my little man appeared, phone in hand, “Mom, the police want to talk to you. I told them about the trucks.” He held the phone forward, brows pulled together, proud of himself for calling 911.
In spite of being ever-ready to be a grown up, Trevor has always been kind and thoughtful of others, particularly me. His older brother was turning six and was beginning to let me know that I was not to kiss him in public and that he wasn’t a little kid anymore. I had read a book called Raising Sons and knew that this was a natural progression; a necessary step for boys in the process of becoming men. The author described an imaginary bridge that must be crossed and in order to be ready for that, a boy needs to come out from beneath his mother's wing; separating himself from her in order to make the slow journey across the bridge . I was prepared for this separation, but did not anticipate it happening so soon. My oldest was wiggling out with exuberence. One day I blurted out loud in exasperation, “Oh my goodness he’s crossing the bridge!”
“What bridge Mom?” Trevor asked, climbing up onto the bottom of my bed.
“The man bridge, honey,” I said, feeling his sweet concern.
“Am I gonna cross the man bridge, too?” he asked, trying to mask eager delight.
“No!” I answered dramatically, “I won’t let you go. Not for a long time!”
Trevor lifted his eyes with serious eyebrows, and then sparkled into a smile.
“I know! You can come with me!”
“Oh no pal, it’s not allowed,” I said, worrying that I was creating male identity problems. “When it’s time for you to cross, you will be ready and so will I. I’ll wave to you from here,” I smiled, waving.
“Mom,” Trevor said in a big deep voice, sounding like Froggy on The Little Rascals.
“Oh no! You crossed the bridge!”
“Just kidding,” Trevor giggled and rolled on the bed delighted.
“Mom,” Froggy voice.
“Oh no!” I moaned, hand to my cheek.
“Just kidding!” he teased. Melting softly, Trevor touched my arm, “When I cross the bridge Mom, I’ll come back over to visit you, OK?”
“Thanks Trev,” I kissed the top of his head. A smile spread across his lips and off he ran.
I sit now on the edge of the bed, looking at the same little boy, well on his way across and close to the threshold of manhood. True to his word, I know that I am tucking in a little visit from the far side of the bridge.