As I sat in the audience among hundreds of people waiting to see their significant other walk across the stage, it was very difficult not to pull hard on the reins of life. I am still having the impulse. Pull with all my might won’t make a difference, I know. Please understand that I am so excited for and proud of my son. He has accomplished and is accomplishing way more than I was at his age. He graduated summa cum laude, after attending the University of Alabama on an academic scholarship. My pride for him is boundless.
I have mulled this post for a few days. I don’t want to be considered a whiny parent who lives in a melancholy world of what if. It is so hard not to want some days back. But he’s done so well, right? I know. I just want to have a day again. One day. Not a day in particular . . . I just really miss the kid who was at my hip asking questions and seeing life in such wonder and amazement.
My daughter goaded me into watching About Time, a movie that leveled me after catching me in this particular mood. The movie is incredible, but in the end I had to grab a tissue (something was in my eye). The father in the movie was able to get that day with his son again. I have written before that it is so hard to know when the last time something will happen: the last game of catch in the backyard, sharing thoughts about girls, building a fort out of pillows and blankets, and on and on. We move through life at a cadence that seems slow and binding; all the while, it is flying by with blazing speed. No, I cannot even recall the last time Justin and I stood in the backyard and tossed baseball and talked. I am sure that we were called in for supper, laid down our gloves and ball never to return to them. Why is this such a struggle? I love and adore the man he is now and the boy he once was, but miss that kid so much.
Am I alone? Does this emasculate me? I don’t know why I cannot just prod forward. I wake at night thinking of days gone by. The graduation has escalated the feeling, since he was still a tad bit dependent on us while he was in college. Now, he has recently been hired by phenomenal corporation (four hours away) and gaining his full independence. Wait! Wait! I want to scream. Let’s throw ball or something. What about digging a giant hole at the beach with a trench that lets in water?
I am not doubting my son’s love for me. I am really trying for this not to be about me. It feels like driving a car at night at 100 miles per hour. My headlights can only see 200 or so feet in front of me. I want it all illuminated. Everything is going to fast. What’s waaaaay up there? John Steinbeck once wrote that if a man were able to see his enter life he would kill himself in ten minutes. I know there is truth in that. Life is meant to be consumed in portions. I just don’t like the taste of this part.