Monday, July 11, 2005

Wings

When I was about 11 years old my sister and I stayed at my grandparent’s house for two weeks without our parents. They lived five hours from our home and there was little option to leave if I got homesick. I can remember my mom asking if we were sure we wanted to stay right before she left and we both nodded confidently, but my determination at independence sunk the moment she drove off down the lane. In the age before cell phones, I was stuck with my decision. I was under the impression at that time in my life that while we were out of the house, my parents were having the time of their lives and now I was going to miss out on it.

Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, I became the grown-up, with a son of my own facing two weeks at his grandparents’ in Tennessee. On Sunday morning, at 6am, I finished loading the car and went down to wake him just enough to say goodbye before I headed home with an empty backseat and he stayed on with his cousin for two weeks of glorious fun at the pool, being out on the lake, driving the boat and all the summer activities available to a nine year old boy. After a brief hug I walked to the door and glanced back at my overly-independent, mature-beyond-his-years boy that I wouldn’t see for the next several weeks. I wasn’t there but for a second when he sat bolt upright in bed and came running at me crying. He jumped up into my arms clinging to my neck and sobbing, “Please don’t go!”

I left about a half hour later when he was past his sadness and had moved on to see with the telescope what orange thing was floating on the lake. He has talked to me since without an ounce of sadness or homesickness in his voice. It was on the way home, as I sobbed with the pain of leaving him, as I fought the need to give him this great summer with family over my own selfishness to never let him out of my sight, that I realized how painful it is to be the parent. I find no joy in being home without him. I have not hosted lavish parties or stayed out to the wee hours. I have come home to a house too quiet for my own good and peeked into his bedroom to savor for a moment the feel of his space. I have checked my email more times than sanity would permit for word from him about his activities. My “big summer plans” are to see if I can revitalize his fish-killing aquarium and steadily add more fish until it’s full when he gets home. I want to call him a million times a day but know that I need to let him call when he wants to talk to me. I had no idea throughout my years as a parent how difficult some of these moments would be. I was prepared for some of them and blindsided by several others. My friends all think I have the life this summer. My sister, with two kids of her own, just can’t imagine why I’m not enjoying every moment of my time without him.

As a divorced parent who shares custody, I have had my share of time without him before, but never this long, never this far from home. I will make it through this summer and he and I both will be better for it. I will cherish that moment with him wrapped in my arms, asking me to stay not because he was afraid to be without me, not because he dreaded the weeks ahead, but simply because he wanted me there with him to share in it all. What I hope more than anything is this fall, when we are back in the daily grind of trumpet practice, homework, flash cards and cleaning his room, that I will remember this time. I want to remember how empty life without him feels. I want to recall with vividness the pain of driving my car away from him Sunday morning. I am proud of my own courage to let go a little this summer and let him explore his own world. I hope that in 9 years when he is ready to leave home I have the same strength to let him go. And I hope, for just a minute, he hugs me just as tightly then, before he goes for I know in my heart I will be whispering, “please don’t go.”

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Beginning

So, you've come to the beginning of my blog. It doesn't feel like much of a beginning, does it? There's no introduction, there's no foundation, it just jumps right in and starts spewing information. Well, that's pretty much me.

But I thought, in retrospect, that a small introduction might be polite. If you decided for whatever reason to come all the way back to the start, you certainly came here expecting something and I'd like to at least give you a token gift in return.

So here it is, my new beginning. Written two and a half years after this blog started but hey, who's to know that (except that I just told you).

The truth is, this isn't really the beginning. My blog didn't start here and it didn't start with this post. It started elsewhere but I eventually uprooted it and moved it to its new home and during the move I tossed some posts that just didn't seem important or relative anymore. To some that goes against all the rules of blogging, but in my blogland, there are no rules so it doesn't bother me that some of my writing is now long gone. It wasn't that good to begin with.

That's another thing you should know. I don't write because I believe I'm at all good at it. Truth is, 99% of all of this is just plain drivel, but I write because I find it to be cathartic. And, if I'm still being honest, I love getting emails from complete strangers saying they laughed or cried or thought deeply about one of my posts, even if they laughed when I had intended them to cry, or they thought deeply about something I meant to be simply funny. It's still email.

But if you came here and you read but you never commented, that's okay, too. Because if you haven't noticed, this blog isn't about you (well, okay, some of you it IS about, but that's cause you dared to be my friend or you're stuck with me through blood). Comment if you like, stay silent if you prefer. In any case I hope you enjoy reading at least something along the way.

Just remember, to me, it's not about the end result. It's not about producing some significant work of writing. It's always about the journey. And this blog is all about my journey. My journey didn't start here, you just jump in to my life in my mid-thirties after so much has already happened and so much has yet to occur. Along the way you'll get some of the history. I try to let you in on the necessary details along the pathway.

But, let's get on with it, shall we? The beginning isn't anything significant, it was just a place to start. And this here is where this part of my journey began. Enjoy!