Musical Milliner

August 20, 2010

Passaggio: How Could It Be?

Yesterday was tough. Exactly a day to a time many years ago when I watched my high school sweetheart drive off to college, car packed full of LPs, stereo, and some clothes, I found myself  helping my eldest son move into his freshman dorm.

Among all the mixed emotions of the day, I could not get the picture out of my mind of seeing that old car pull out and go. I felt so alone then. Abandoned.

Those feelings welled up again yesterday. I recognized them, and across the years the visceral memory was fresh. I had done this before, had seen a young man I loved take a big step away from me and into the excitement of university life.

There is a pain so deep, so familiar, and so very strange as well. It is surreal. Both strong and gentle men. Both reliable Pisces. Both good friends.

There are, of course, differences.

A child I carried, birthed and cradled in my arms became a man so fast that I’m absolutely stunned.

How many times have I endured the unsolicited advice to savor every minute with my child because it all flies by so quickly?  Higher mind knows this. Heart fights it. Helpful people annoy.

A friend of mine who is a fabulous father told me that he’s been depressed about it for several years. Worse with each child. He warned me to be ready for more helpful comments from the well-intentioned about how wonderful it must be to finally have a quiet, empty home. From what planet do these people launch?

To give them the benefit, I’ll assume some people prefer the distance from their children. For me, as for my friend, these kids are interesting, interested people. The idea that months will turn before I share coffee at the kitchen table with my son is unimaginable. But it is the new reality. No matter what, I can’t change the facts. As with all passages, I can struggle or I can choose to just roll with it. .

I knew this day would come. But nothing can prepare you for it when your time arrives. Your heart gets ripped out, and the hardest part of it all is to not transmit the depth of your pain to your child. He knows your sadness, but he will never know the whole story until it becomes his turn to experience a similar day with his own offspring.  To come unhinged in his presence would be selfish. He doesn’t need my baggage with all the changes he is undergoing.

We raise them to leave. If I’ve done my job well, my son will embrace this new journey. I will as well. I love you son!

(c)GoshGusMusic(2010)photo cjarc(c)

October 12, 2009

Follia: ripetere

I saw this coming so I can’t go around acting surprised. Yet, this production is all-consuming and daunting. My ability to focus on these tasks will have an effect on the outcome. Still, I am behind and am running hard to catch up. imagesI have control in one piece of this process, and I cannot fuck up.

And, oh yeah. I am a single mother now, virtually unemployable and always under-employed, so my sons father and I are learning to work together through this project.

(Of course I have the dishwasher’s guts on the floor because I am replacing a valve in the water pump. I am my father’s daughter, and appliances always need attention when you are least likely to have the time. Figures…)

Man-children, four grades apart in school. One a senior, the other an 8th grader. Two Class of 2010 sets of issues. Shadow-visits. Interviews. Essays. Lots and lots of essays. To get each to the next level of their education requires a small army of experts.

My role is to advocate, point out those unique but often overlooked assets, and keep track of deadlines which are on different paths and make no sense when compared each to the other. I use color-coded files and spreadsheets. I exert parental authority by issuing edicts on when I need rough drafts.

Friends with daughters describe how well their girls take up the cause. There are still gender differences in regards to organizational skills and multi-tasking.

When you commit to prep school, there is no turning back. You do whatever you can, make whatever sacrifices you must in order to support your choice that school is more important than home ownership or more grad school for a parent or…vacations. I won’t be seeing Austria again for a while.

Is it worth it? What if you spend all this money, and your kid wants to be a carpenter? What if he ends up like his parents and devoted to some discipline of the performing arts, and can’t make a living on music alone?

The real goal is a lifelong passion for learning. A parent can’t get attached to a particular outcome. Faith is involved.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

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