Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This Little Boy

Today as I was unearthing the Sacred Burial Mound that is my desk, which is a never-ending process, I came across some thoughts I had written down years ago about my oldest son, the screenwriter. He was quite the character as a boy and gave me hours of endless entertainment--some good, some bad--but entertaining nevertheless.

Here's a photo of him way back when, scribbling at the kitchen table.

When I asked what he was doing, he said, "I'm writing a story, Mommy."

Following are a few things I remember about my son, Jeff Tetreault, that I never wanted to forget.


A little boy's mind is a strange and wondrous thing. What is it that makes an almost four-year-old correct his father when he says: "Isn't Mama pretty today?"

"No, Mama is a beauty!"

This is the same boy who thinks people in his dreams have been there, too, and have seen the same places and things he has.

"Mommy, remember the gorilla that came and looked through our windows last night?"

"I didn't see it, Honey. You must have dreamed it."

"No! You saw them. You were there. I was with you," he insists.

This is the same little boy who wants to be a rock star and play guitar. He wears his hair spiked to nursery school with his dark glasses and a Don Johnson sweater so his friends will think he is cool and call him "Do-Do."

"Yes, they probably will," I say.

This is the same little boy who tells me, "I don't love you, Mommy. I love Daddy. When I was a baby I needed you and loved you, but now I'm a bigger boy and need my daddy."

I love this little boy and his fantasy world where a cardboard box becomes a hundred different vehicles to take him lands away. I love this little boy who walks through a crafts fair trailing a 25-foot rope, wears cowboy boots, shirt, straw hat and carries an inch-long plastic water pistol he got from the pediatrician's treasure chest and shoots it at passers-by, declaring to all that he is a cowboy and they are dead.

I love this little man, who, after hearing his parents argue over the telephone, worriedly asks, "What did Daddy say, Mommy?"

When I answer, "He says he loves you very much and always will," my son replies, "Yes, but why doesn't Daddy love you, Mommy?"

The mind of a little boy growing up is a precious thing. It is so wonderful to witness the developing thought processes along with the mastery of psychology.

This little boy, whose favorite color is green and favorite food is chocolate, is the same little boy who scores 24 out of a possible 19 for his age group on developmental tests.

We are not so different, he and I. We are mother and son with dreams that are real both in the night and during the day with fantasies to fulfill.

He is mine and he is growing up. I am glad to know him and to help him fulfill his dreams and live his fantasies.


This boy helps his two-year-old brother when he hurts his foot. He puts his arms around him, pats his shoulder, and tells him everything will be okay. When I get to them to see why the younger one has cried, the older one tells me, "Douglas hurt his foot on a brick and I helped him. I made him feel better, Mommy."

I praise him for being such a good brother and kiss them both.

On the way to the babysitter's house, he says, "Mommy, please don't tell Norma I helped my brother."

"Why?" I ask.

"Please don't tell her, Mommy!"

And I don't. After all, he has an image to protect.


Now this boy is another year older. His father takes him swimming at the recreation center. Later, he tells me, "Mommy, you should've seen this beeyooteeful woman at the pool today. She didn't have any clothes on."

"She didn't?!"

"No. She was naked and she was really pretty."


"Yeah! And I said, 'Daddy, look at that lady. She doesn't have any clothes on.' And Daddy said, 'Yeaaaahhh! I see!' "

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, and we hugged her and kissed her all over and we really loved her!"

"You did, did you?"

"Yeaaahhhh! And I loved her so much that hearts came out of my eyes just like valentines."


My little five-year-old. He is so sweet. Last night, he says, "Mommy, remember when you were at Norma's today and Douglas started crying? Well, I wanted to cry, too, but I didn't. But my heart went bump-bump-bump."

"Oh, Honey, how come?" I ask.

"Because I wanted to go to work with you."


Seeing one's firstborn child off to kindergarten is an age-old rite of passage that every parent faces. This year it was my turn. Even though my son was a three-year preschool veteran, there was something different about seeing him off this time. I ignored the tears that crept into my eyes, the tears that hoped to find their way down my cheeks, and I watched him walk fearlessly in to the cafeteria wearing his jacket with the Ghostbusters' patch I had sewn on it, his book bag slung over his shoulder. He looked around the sea of kids, whose parents had dropped them off, and surveyed the crowd. There he stood, looking vulnerable yet cool. His father went in after him, only to be told that parents were not to be with the children. I told him Jeffy would be okay, and then our son was gone. Whisked away with a mass of kids down some hallway at Rose Hill Elementary School.


When Jeffy moved Hollywood on his own with nothing but a suitcase and a heart full of dreams, I remember feeling much the same as I did that first day of kindergarten: proud and concerned about his vulnerability but somehow safe in the knowledge that he was one cool kid and would do okay.

Here's my son in a production meeting earlier this year for his script, "Me and My Penis," the story of a womanizing man whose manhood goes AWOL until he reforms his ways.

I am happy to see that my son still has the same passion and enthusiasm for the story as he did years ago, and even happier that he still calls me "Mommy."

This little boy of mine is all grown up. I am glad to know him and to have helped him fulfill his dreams and live his fantasies.

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