I have seen a shift in him. When he used to tout, “Don’t worry, Mom! I can do it myself!” before he proudly headed to the bathroom, glad to display he is just as big and capable as his older brothers, now he shyly says, “Mom, I want you to come wis me.”

His sub-conscious imagination is flourishing, developmentally right on time. There have only been a few bad dreams so far, but they have affected him. The last one took a toll. That night I was in his room three times and woke up with him next to me, a bit foggy on when he actually arrived there.

After that night I noticed he wanted company at times when previously he would have shown off his cool skills of self-reliance. He does not want to be on the other side of the house without a companion. And his preference is Mom.

I will be honest. I don’t mind. In fact, even though it may be a tad inconvenient at times, I find it rather comforting myself. I know what it is to need the presence of another safe human being. Not to have them give me anything or tell me anything or solve my problems for me, but just to be with me. In my fear. In my insecurity. In my emotional need.

Having a tangible safe person with me reminds me that the things in my head are not real. They are abstract and they cannot come and hurt me. Which of course seems obvious now as I write, but when I am alone and my imagination runs and panic races its heat through my body I am less sure.

In my son’s normal developmental stage of imagination going wild, I am reminded of what a gift it is to simply be present with someone. Not to solve or fix or do for them, but just to be with them. Someone who doesn’t force me to face the fears inside my head alone, just to make me stronger. But instead says we are in this together. I am with you. No matter how rational or irrational your fears are, I will not leave.

And so when he is the first one up and comes to me at six o’clock in the morning and says he wants to snuggle I actually physically smile. Because it is so beautiful to be together. Present with one another. And I love that he is not too proud or embarrassed or ashamed to ask. I hope he never is.

8 thoughts on “presence

  1. Simon Marsh says:

    Thank you Rebecca! This “shyly” being “present with someone” really is of the essence of life, isn’t it? The late Fr Joe Warrilow, Tony Hendra writes, said: “None of us listen enough, do we, dear? We only listen to a fraction of what people say. It’s a wonderfully useful thing to do. You almost always hear something you didn’t expect.”

    What a glorious two way “listening” there is at 6am when someone “wants to snuggle”. Word without words. Presence beyond all telling – mother and son in this, your exquisitely tender account …

    But perhaps one of the revelations we discover in blogging, a bit like the revelations that come to us in silent prayer, (something that Fr Joe spent a lot of his wonderful life engaged in) is that any of us, any time we want to, though “a bit foggy on when [we] arrived there”, though maybe worlds / lifetime’s apart, can be present to, and with, and for, anyone we want to be there with, anyone at all.

    In the dreamy, peaceful, private, quiet moments of our hearts – 6am or 6pm. The time doesn’t really matter. It becomes a permanent state anyway! Snuggling is prayer. Anywhere. Yes. We’re in this together. Present. Presence. Again, thank you – for beautiful writing, and a lovely example of “being there” portrait photography too! Joy and peace for May 🙂

  2. I absolutely LOVE this, Rebecca, and while I am not a mother, I am surround by children all day and understand just what you mean. I learn from them daily how to ask for what I want and need – help, love, a hug. I hope none of us become to proud or embarrassed to stop asking. Thank you for this powerful and moving piece. It spoke to me in so many ways. xox

    • Rebecca Koo says:

      Thank you so much, my dear friend! I am so glad to hear that! And I do not know what it is to be a teacher, but I know you see the value of each child and each person and that is a gift to us all.

  3. I SOOO enjoyed this post on SOO many levels!! As the mom of a child who still suffers from nightmares and from the standpoint that I like company just to wash dishes…and I gotta say that as Zachary’s aunt, I just LOVE the photo for this one!! He’s adorable!!

  4. Susan says:

    oh, yes! I love your descriptions…they put me in the place with you and in the moment! I am so glad to get validation to just “be” and not need to do/say/fix my kids, especially my older one. And I also agree – beautiful picture!! He is so handsome!!

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