Monday, May 23, 2011

Ode to Boy

It's my son's 12th birthday tomorrow. Last year I started a tradition to write him a poem for his birthday as a way to celebrate the person he is during this moment in time.

Here's this year's poem:

I have almost forgotten that little boy
who I used to hold in my lap.
He’s grown.
Feet and hands as big as mine.
Soon those few inches between us will close
and it will be your eyes
that are looking down into mine.

Promise me that you’ll still hold my hand
the way you do now,
grabbing it without a thought
as we stroll down the sidewalk together.
Promise me that you’ll still ask for goodnight kisses,
that you’ll still hold on to me,
not ready to let me go
when we turn off the light.
Promise me that I’ll be the one
you want to tell your stories to,
that I’ll be the one you complain to,
about friends who smell funny,
or girls who talk too much,
or teachers who just don’t listen.
Promise me that you’ll never be too grown up
to hug me in public
and tell me that you love me.
I won’t mind
If you simply want to whisper it
Into my ear
Just so long as I can hear you say it out loud.
Promise me that you’ll always want
to snuggle next to me as you read,
just to feel the closeness between us.

I don’t want to forget
your teeth, the way they are right now,
still big in your mouth,
untouched by braces.
I don’t want to forget
the way you shoot your basketball,
tossing it gleefully behind your head,
or the way you bowl,
balancing between pure show off
and downtrodden Eeyore.
I don’t want to forget
the way you look right after you’ve told a joke
that has made everyone laugh.
The way a pleased smile forms on your lips
And you look at me
to make sure that I’ve noticed.

Don’t let me forget these things.
Imprint them on my skin.
Engrave them in my bones
So that I always remember
what it feels like
to be the center of your universe.


  1. You just brought tears to my eyes. My oldest son just turned 11 this January. AND I FEEL THE SAME WAY. You captured it beautifully. Thanks for "introducing" yourself to me via Twitter. Very cool.

  2. Oh Kate! You are brilliant!