Our community came together one day in June to raise the frame of our home–along with 3-year-old Aidan who spent the day hammering nails into the floorboards of what would be our kitchen; and 8-year-old Lloyd who knelt beside his preschool & primary teachers laying down the floor to what would become his bedroom; and Casey, age 38, who lifted beams with friends & family (and even strangers) to realize a dream come true; and me, age 40, who never had the chance to live in one place very long and who climbed the frame at the end of the day and tapped an evergreen branch to its peak while everyone cheered below.
14 years have passed.
14 wedding anniversaries.
14 winters & springs.
Over the years, Casey spoke of needing an addition—the living room was always too small; but I countered that the boys would be gone someday and the house was already too large for two.
“Someday” has somehow arrived.
What was “raised” to be a home for 4, becomes a home for 2 at the end of summer—which is almost as unfathomable as building this home for ur family once was.
Beyond the awakening is the fragility to which i am most attuned;
Because hasn’t spring brought both love & heartache, conception & loss, burials and re-births?
How do I explain what it is to see a parent outside the highschool, pacing back and forth on her cellphone. Or another, a father, walking briskly toward the building with cleats in his arms. Or my own cheek still charged with the bristle of my son’s as he kissed me goodbye and hopped out of the driver’s seat… the car emptied of his breakfast, his music, his overbearing book bag.
I remain still. Bound to the passenger side of this empty vehicle.
Waiting? Watching? What?
The speed of time?
How suddenly the landscape becomes lush?
No matter how inconvenienced we are. These children. These lives. Ready to fly. Are everything.
Even as we let them go. Little by little. And then all at once. Holding on to the simplest ways to say:
i pulled the socks from his feet and rubbed peppermint cream into his soles, while his father went in search of tylenol. and as i rubbed, i said to myself, whose feet are these? they’re so huge! even the toes! and i wondered, was I wrapped in his feverish delusions too? and later, when we brought him into our bed, and he tucked his shivering body against mine, and i wrapped my arms around him like i had when he was a boy, i was surprised to find a broad back and big boned shoulders, and i reached further still to be sure i wasn’t touching my husband; while my baby, at 16 & a half to the day, oblivious to his child-to-giant transformation, went on tossing and turning and sweating, between us, until we brought him to the shower, and his father, seeing his body, as if for the first time, said to me: how have we missed this?
(A guest post. From a dad!! Thank you, Colby Dix!!!)
“I cried today. It was real.
My son had a little piece of plastic in his ear and we were in the emergency room at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. I admit that I can be emotionally connected beyond the usual male stereotype, so this may not be that surprising. The thing was, just feeling that, and allowing it, so overwhelming when it came… It was something.
Because the extraction required sedation, my son was essentially conscious but zoned out in a ketamine haze. I winced while the proficient ENT specialist teased that foreign object out of hiding and removed it and I broke then even, feeling the deepest empathy for this blood of my blood. But that wasn’t all see; after it was done, he took a little time to re-awaken. To come back.
And his eyes were teary and glazed as they swam into focus to see me directly in front of him, concern in my own eyes and staring at the most important thing I can imagine. And as he recognized me, he sleepily said “I love you” with those teary eyes and I just let it go, responding in kind with a choked voice. How could I not?
Often in life I speak to the benefit of failure, in terms of learning and growing. But I seem to forget that I can learn a great deal from success as well. My most successful achievement, by far, is this little boy, and I’m exquisitely proud of him on the daily. And in that moment, with my heart aching to connect as completely as possible, I realized that my capacity for love had grown yet again. That I hit another level. He made me better, smarter and more aware in an instant.
Sure, this is a common enough tale. Young child sticks something in their ear, nose, whatever. But even in it’s commonality, there is so much to be gained. I’m thankful, and a little tired from it. I’m not saying this to land any great parable or nugget of wisdom. I just want to acknowledge it, because it makes me happy. Happy to be here. He’s the best.”