I have always loved to kiss my son’s head ever since he was born. It was such an intoxicating thing to do; I would gently place my entire face on his little head and inhale deeply (sometimes, drops of baby oil will zoom their way into my brain – but I did not care). I would stay there and just breathe; inhaling his natural baby scent mixed with man-made products. I would listen to the pulsating of the soft spot on his head and try to imagine what was going on in it – what size of brain and skull, what thoughts were running through his head, if he even had thoughts. And then I’d start to whisper into his head and say things like, ‘I love you. Your brain is going to be so strong. Not because I’ll make you read books with big words and try to make you play Elevate from the moment you say ‘mama’. Not even because I’ll gorge you with foods rumored to be brain boosting. But your brain will be strong because your mother’s brain is and because she and you will have such amazing conversations. She loves you, your mom. Never let your strong brain forget that.’
When my son grew older, he became slightly averse to the idea of his mother kissing his head. The first day it happened, I was amused. I was dropping him off at his Primary School and then I drew him near, sniffed his hair and kissed the middle of his head. He quickly withdrew and waved me bye.
The next time he did it, I was shocked because we were alone in the house (oh, by the way, I’m a single mother). I tried to kiss his head before bed, and then he said, ‘Mom, your head is heavy on my head.’ And when he noticed that I was disappointed with his comment, he added, ‘And my hair is brittle. Doesn’t it hurt your face?’ I smiled and said, ‘You are embarrassed that I kiss your head and I understand that. But my desire to let you know how much I love you is far more than my desire to keep you from feeling embarrassed. Been doing it since you were one day old, I’m not going to stop!’ And with that I pounced on him and showered his head with almost a million kisses.
I love my son, I think it’s obvious by now. And no, it’s not about the kisses I shower on him. It’s about the way I can literally burn myself at the stake for him. It’s why the very first information I pumped into his head was about salvation and Christ because I knew that the best gift I could give him was the truth of the Gospel. It’s about the way I protect him fiercely and try to be both a father and mother at the same time so that he never notices the absence of a father figure(which really, is story for another day). It’s even about how I fail so many times to be a father (because I’m not!), and how no matter how many times I fail, I would never stop trying. It’s also about how I have re-tried my hands at relationships because I heard that it might be psychologically effective for him to grow up in a conventional family.
I love my son, and that’s undeniable. He is growing so fast right before my eyes and some days, I sit on the floor in his room and just watch him and smile (most times, this usually leads to thanksgiving sessions, and then full blown prayers which would wake him up. You know what the cutest thing is? When he was younger, he’d wake up and sit in his bed watching me and saying ‘amen’. Sometimes he’d even join me in pacing around. Now that he is older, he joins in prayers – although sometimes, I know he pretends hard to act dead asleep.)
Today is his 10th birthday. I absolutely cannot believe it’s been 10 years since…
He is so mature. He is so handsome. He is so kind-hearted and thoughtful. He is a man; a better man than most older men I know. He is a gentleman (Whenever he does something gentlemanly and I say ‘You’re such a gentleman’, he says, ‘Yes, like my father, God.’ And then I’d say something snarky like ‘Wise one, God is not man.’ And then he may reply with something like, ‘Yeah? But I’m his child so….’ And then I may say something like ‘Guy, that doesn’t debunk my theory’ and it’ll go on and on until we start opening the Bible and laughing.)
Just yesterday, he strode into my room for our pre-birthday tradition (this usually involves us converging in the same room the night before either person’s birthday to pray, discuss about the previous year and talk about plans for the next year. Most times there’ll be a cupcake with a candle and then we’d try to come up with a totally different remix of the Birthday Song – I think my son might be a musical genius)
Anyway, last night, he strode into my room and sat on the bed. I had a deadline to meet before 9pm and so I was researching and typing like a mad woman. Heck! I looked like a mad woman. He came beside me and watched me as I typed. Then he started humming the birthday song. Truthfully, I became a little distracted. But I’d give up the world to hear my son breathe so I managed and continue typing. Suddenly, he stopped and said, ‘Am I distracting you?’ I could have said ‘No, baby. Continue.’ But that moment felt like a nice time to be a deep mother so I stopped typing, turned around, held both his shoulders and said, ‘Babe, you are my focus, how could you also double as my distraction? You are my distraction from other distractions; the reason I cannot focus on other frivolities. This work I’m doing? It’ll fetch me money. Why do I need money? I need money to partner with God’s work and to take care of you. Fam, never doubt it, after God, it’s you. You are bae’
Then, he did something I never expected; he bent my head towards him and kissed the top of my head – smack in the centre! (in my head, I was like ‘Someone is back with a bang!). Then I heard him smile and say ‘Fam, you’re lit.’