He is of the age when many are graduating from college, (in fact many of his friends are doing just that this spring), he is not moving away to start his life/career as an adult, he is not going off to war. He is attempting to fulfill a dream. A dream he has had since the age of 12, a dream he attempted once before.
~~~My son, this young man I love so much, approached me tonight with a most unusual question, "How was your day?"
"Fair to middlin', with middlin' being the operative word."
We chatted, touching on a variety of subjects--The idiosyncrasies of the American work place. Personal ethics and doing what feels right in any given situation, be it small or large. How appreciative people can be of the most insignificant seeming gesture. His recent experience with a man filled with road rage. His absentee ballot for the upcoming primary, and how he has tried to influence his friends into voting for Barack Obama.
Finally though, after about 45 minutes of chit chat, we got to the real reason he approached me tonight.
He said, "I came in here to ask you a specific question, but I forgot what it was."
"You ask me how my day was."
"That was just a conversation starter, I am getting to be more socially competent."
"Yes, I know, but you don't have to be with me, I'm your mother."
"I need the practice."
A long pause from him, a meeting of our eyes, before he glanced away.
I smiled up at him, "We'll be OK...really...we will."
"I am worried."
"I know, but we will be OK. I will be, your sister will be, and your dad will be. I promise."
"I'm worried about dad. Now that he has type 2 Diabetes, and he's taking medicine for high blood pressure. This indestructible man, is becoming frail."
"He'll be OK too. He can regulate both with the proper diet, and his medications. He may have to give up some of his love for red meat, and ice cream, but he can do it."
"Yeah, he's stocking the fridge with better food now."
"See? He will take care of himself. You don't need to worry. Whatever happens, we will all get through it, work through it. I know this divorce business is worrisome. You have no idea how many times I have wondered if we could work it out. Maybe, if we had tried counseling again...maybe... In the long run, though I could be wrong, I'm pretty confident I made the right decision."
"I know you did. That sounds weird for me to say, but, I know you did, it's better for both of you."
"I think so too. And, your sister and I, we'll be alright. We really will."
"Do you think it's disloyal of me, if I quit work tomorrow, instead working through to Thursday? I really feel like I need the extra time to know I have everything I need. I mean, I know I do, but...I still feel the need to review it, and make sure."
"You have to do what feels right for you. If you feel better quitting now, then tell them."
"I think I will."
"I love you, now give me a hug, I am not going to have those available to me for the next few months."
I could tell I didn't lay all of his worries to rest. He didn't tell me what they consist of. It is probably just a general uneasiness. He is a rather laid back young man, but whenever this family has been in the midst of a minor crises, he has always lent his strength to us, all of us. He also knows how much his sister loves him, how much she will miss him. He even knows there will be times she is angry with him for not being here when she needs him. He knows we will worry.
We will wonder, we will spend the weeks he is gone always wondering and worrying...is he warm, dry, hungry, tired, lost, safe, sleeping, hiking, making new friends? We will wonder about the astounding beauties that will be filling his eyes as he hikes the wilderness trail. We will wonder, and hope. We will hope to receive the promised weekly phone calls from him. We will hope he does not become injured, or meet a hungry bear. Mostly though, we will hope he finds what he needs within himself. That no matter what, he will feel as if he tried.
It pleases me, to know we have the ability to let the other know how much we will miss each other. It pleases me that he has the maturity to understand that our worries about him are not because we think he cannot do this. He knows we worry because we love him, and want no harm to befall him.
As we talked, I filled my eyes with him, I filled my heart and soul with him. My eyes are the prejudiced eyes of a mother gazing upon her son...but I couldn't help thinking..."He is wonderful, I am so lucky he is my son. I love him so much."