Tuesday, March 27, 2012

growing wings

Mr. Tailor turned seventeen last Wednesday and we had an argument.  I don't even remember what it was about, actually, but I am pretty positive that this was the first one to happen on his birthday.  This year has been a trying year for the both of us.  My mom used to tell me all the time that I don't deal well with change, and I believe that this truth about me is still very much intact.  As far as Mr. Tailor is concerned, this year has been ALL about change.   He is going to college- ack!  He is dating- ack!  He's initiating  conversations about sex- ack!  He is learning how to drive (and I'm his instructor)- double ack!  And now with the dawning of his seventeenth year, he has informed me that he can officially watch rated R movies.

What?! 

Yep, it's been a tough year, but what is going to happen next year when he turns eighteen and in the eyes of the law is officially an adult?  That's only one year away! There is no other way to say it; I'm in trouble.

In all the parenting books I've read over the years, none of them prepared me for the changes this year has brought.  Yet, I'm sure they did mention that these normal vicissitudes through adolescence were to be expected.  I'm sure they did a thorough enough job of informing the parent just how to handle everything appropriately as well as gave the proper tools and instilled an adequate amount of confidence in their reader.  The day I read this book for the first time, all those years ago,  I was probably so confident about my newly acquired parenting abilities that I most likely stopped at the pre-teen years chapter, closed the book, and went about my merry way.  Little did I know that I would need to be dragging it out again for a little refresher course.

But I'm still wondering, how do I do this?  As a parent, do I just let go and watch him make all of those unavoidable, heart rending mistakes that could very well have a negative impact on the rest of his life?  He could suffer brain damage, get a girl pregnant, or worse- he could become a Republican!

My mom called recently and told me about her latest kayaking trip in which she was stalked by a bald eagle, as she was paddling along on the lake.  It had spotted her as it was flying high overhead and decided that she was interesting enough to follow for miles- and my mom loved every minute of it.  Mom then went on to explain how the mama eagle will care for her eaglets in the nest until she feels it's time to push them out.  Nobody ever talks about whether or not the mama eagle struggles to do this or not.  Whether she second guesses herself as to whether or not her babies are ready- what about little junior there, his wing doesn't seem to be quite as developed at as his brother's.  Maybe he needs a few more days? Most likely she responds to pure instinct- birds are good at that.  (You can take a look at the excellent parenting skills of this mama eagle here.)

My sister told me that when her oldest daughter prepared to leave for college, she fell into a state of denial. Even up until the day my niece was loading her boxes into the car to leave, my sister would ask her what she was doing.  Where was she going?

"Oh Mom, not going anywhere," my niece would reply with a wink.
She told me later that the pain lasted for months.  It was as if she had a hole in her heart, in her life, and nothing could fill it or help it heal.

I'm not ready to go through that yet.  I don't think I'll be ready by next year, either- but I'll do it anyway.  And just like the mama eagle, I'll push him from the nest- even though I won't need to nudge too hard.  He'll go willingly and fly.

Ack!

Monday, March 19, 2012

significant stranger

between Here and There, 2012

Paula sat next to me on our flight to Chicago.  The trip would be a short one- lasting for only an hour and a half; however, our conversation would cause the minutes to fly much faster than that.

She was on her way home from a visit with a long-time friend who has terminal cancer and only weeks to live. Paula had gone back to say I love you and good-bye, and while there, she beheld a friend surrounded by hope.

Hope that the new medicine would bring relief from the unrelenting nausea that had been plaguing her friend for months.  Forgetting all about future plans, the focus of this family's concern was only the minutes in the day- of that day.

As I stepped off the plane, a new feeling enveloped me.  I felt grounded and invigorated from our conversation and the lesson I had learned.  Each day is a new day with a new chance to love, forgive, and cherish our family and friends who fill our lives with meaning and value.  

Thank you Paula, for the little reminder. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

road trip

Mr. Hero and I have been in Arizona this week.  We took a drive on up to Payson from Scottsdale on Saturday morning and were captivated by the majestic saguaros raising their arms underneath the Arizona desert sun, as Sting sung about jealous skies and fields of gold. 

These cacti will hold their stately position for up to two hundred years if the frost doesn't bite them and if the vandals with their loaded guns, can keep their distance.  
When fully hydrated, they can weigh as much as 4,800 pounds.

saguaros along the Beeline hwy
Mr. Hero shared a story that had been reported in the paper when he was a kid, shortly after his family moved to Phoenix in the early eighties.  Apparently, a man and his friend decided to have a little fun in the desert taking shots at the protected plant.  He was successful at bringing down a smaller saguaro and so he set his sites on a larger, much older one. Unfortunately for the vandal, the cactus didn't take too kindly to the attack and had it's revenge by falling on the man, impaling him to death.

I suppose the guy might have benefited from hearing a thing or two about karma.

happy day- striking the cactus pose