August 25, 2018
Handsome. Oh, that G~d had granted me a son.
Solid. He stood before me with a silent smile, curious and strong. Ready. He was ready.
His father, my son and I arrived with plenty of time for pre-ceremony photos and for him to weave his way into the line up with gown, cap, tassels and robe. My brother delivered my son’s grandmother. She, our family’s matriarch of eighty-plus years who reigns with a wit only further sharpened by time, strode into the high school fieldhouse, each hand encircled by my brother on one side and my ex-husband on the other. My mother had planned on her own failure rather than success at being able to physically walk the distance from curb to seat. But she was doing it. There she was – a matriarch of family and most importantly, a wizard of her own creation. There she was, a young man’s first source of magic: his grandmother.
We waited for the processional. His smile widened. His face was maturing into a landscape of one man’s promise upon the slate of G-d’s blessings. His is an etching only beginning to be drawn. A masterpiece slumbering within.
I took my place among mothers with over eager camera lens, fingers snapping upon shutters, clutching at moments to capture. I snapped those same photos. He was a man, dressed for his future. He was a young man in whose eyes I still could see my boy. And I realized then how ‘it’ happens. I knew in a moment I will always see those eyes of depth as the eyes of my boy, my son, forever. I knew in that moment I will watch him grow but I will see a boy in those deep eyes. And for the first time in a long time, I was silenced.
I watched as he stood in line, his full name called. He walked across the stage, shook hands with principal, school board and the evening’s dignitaries. I watched in silence with the hope that I had not failed him. Where were my cheers, screams or tears? It had been a selfish moment of terror wondering at the imperfection of parenting skills. My mouth fell open as my memory played alongside the reality of unfolding events. My memory replayed the moments of his birth. I remembered the pain and the silence. I could not speak then either. Not a word. During labor I had stood in the hospital shower. I hadn’t wished for drugs until it had been too late to use them. With water rushing down my body, labor gripped at muscles one would had never thought to have been gripped.
All the while, I could not say a word. My mind could not form words. And the water ran over me until the moment of his arrival. There he was, that miracle of biology and blessing of universal dust and hope. He, in his own brain, with his own mind, waking into the world.
I watched the memory in the silence of my mind, a baby born and now a man walking – striding – on his own terms.
Sigh. Oh, that G-d had granted me a son.
I have begun again. It seems that the spirit of change, along with trees, tomatoes, and the bird berries, has been fertile this summer. “Bird berries” have outlined my home in the woods rather cleverly. For years, they have outlasted the mower’s blades to the joy of birds which feast upon them. They are those berries whose proper identification I have never been compelled to discover even though as a child, I was always warned never to eat them.
The birds, however, sing a much different tune. Literally.
Coincidence. Perhaps there are coincidences. I tend to think not, but perhaps the true coincidence of the summer is the occurrence of summer’s spirit of change alongside an incredible circling of life events which I am only now starting to fully recognize. I had thought the coincidence was the parallel of my son’s graduation with my own search for a new job. There was no relationship between the two events. Yet I had been amazed at the times in my life that there seemed to be an intervention, above my own abilities and above any theory of lady luck, in which the circles of life overlap perfectly.
Awareness? Genius? Oh, please, no. I had recognized that in order to survive I would need to change. I had desired it.
I had wanted to change.
A job offer came. After a month that felt like a year, an offer had come. As I write now, I think of the panic, the anxiety, and the doubt. Those were much easier states of mind as I rewrote resumes. But the offer had come. (Truthfully I was not even sure at the time it was an offer. In such a short time I was more used to thinking negatively. After some scrambling between phone messages and emails, I finally realized the offer was serious.)
I was hired by the largest retailer in the United States. How fast did life change? The company sent me to management training in city which always had scared and intrigued me. For five weeks, I studied at one of their academy stores. I wandered the city in my off-time and traveled home when I had any total days off.
I was fifty-three years old. I have traveled and navigated New York City, Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Boston. But Madison? I will never understand why the city scared me. And here I was.
At a beginning. Again. I had returned to a piece of me that I had long put away. I had loved my MBA program but I had never thought I would be indulging my mind and my life with business studies and career again. Again, again.
I looked briefly in the mirror, at this woman I now am. In one Wisconsin summer (in the condensed heat of two and one-half months) life burst with swirling cycles of change so unpredictably predictable, it was perfect.
Abundantly perfect. Like bird berries…
Somehow. For some reason. In some way, my life has become a bumper crop just like those berries. Yep. It is the summer in a year of plenty. And in some comical twist of metaphor, thank goodness those berries are not meant for pie baking.
It’s not pie. Beginnings. Circles. Commencements.
Happiness. Love. “Choose the berries”
Love you lots, blessings to you and yours…
And a kiss for your journey.
ps. New writing goal. Every two weeks. One week to write; another, to edit. (I dislike strongly, yet politely recognize and embrace the process of editing.) Grrr…