Existential Crisis

Sometimes I push Owen too much into the scary realm of the “big boy.” On Sunday, we went to the park and I, ever encouraging, told him that I’d catch him at the bottom of the big, red, twirly, scary slide. He’d just climbed a rock climbing wall and was feeling pretty proud of himself, so he continued up to the mouth of the slide.

Then he started to cry.

“But I don’t want to go down the slide! I’m scay-ered!”

I reassured him, told him he didn’t have to, helped him down. I said, “Maybe you’ll want to go down the big slide when you’re bigger. Maybe when you’re three.”

Owen looked at me with solemn eyes, still bright with tears. “When I’m big, will I still be Owen?” he asked.

“Of course you will. Who else would you be?”

He seemed reassured.

Later, I told Duncan the story. Owen overheard: “Who I would be else ?” he chimed in cheerfully. Who he would be else indeed.

It’s so surprising for me to witness Owen’s minor anxieties as he plows onward toward all kinds of things he doesn’t understand, big boy stuff with big boy responsibilities.

As he likes to reassure me, “I still a little boy. I not a big boy yet.”