Telling: Altars & Artifacts


gus is himself

The flicker has returned to Gus's oration. A small gesture, quick flick of the tongue against his upper lip as he inhales between thoughts. He only does it when he's on a roll, completely absorbed in the flow of a story, all self-consciousness evaporated. No silliness. No meanness. It's an old gesture, I haven't seen it in a while. The last couple of years, Gus has discovered that the world's opinion does not always align with his. He has lost confidence in his point of view. Along with most all the other kids in his kindergarten class, he picked up a tone of silliness which he used to cloak what he said, that way, if people laughed, he didn't get stuck looking sincere about something everyone obviously considered stupid. This phase has pretty much passed. Thank God. Nothing angers me faster than that tone of self-belittlement.

I want to tell Gus that sincerity is key. His enthusiasms are so immense and overwhelming, they require an equal pitch of sincerity as a kind of lubricant, to help keep him from completely wearing people raw. Want to tell him. Can't.

Unfortunately, the silly-voice seems to have matured into a kind of snide tone. The mockery turned outward. I see it aimed at Jake mostly. Though when Gus is with his friends, it's aimed at him. He's an easy target. It's hard to stand by and listen to your baby being ridiculed.

So it makes me happy, to see that flick to his tongue again. It reminds me of the person inside the bundle of loose ends and crackling energies, reminds me of the joy in him.

A Mother's Journal

field notes from
1997 - 1999