Today I sit in the airport waiting for the flight which will take me to San Diego, to the beach I love, to my eldest son who has been there for ten days already. He has not missed us, at all. We've called a couple of times, literally like twice-once early in the week and once on Friday evening- to see if he wanted to talk to us. "hey, Drew, wanna talk to your mom and dad?" we hear our friend Bill ask. And in the background, we hear clearly the kid's answer come booming back into our parental psyche: "nah, I'm good."
Um, ok? Finally Bill entreats the child to please speak to his parents, and so he does, one word answers to our probing questions about camp and his friends and what all he's been doing without us there. He has no patience for it.
It's not like I'm surprised the boy is doing fine and is not homesick. This is the child who has walked into every new classroom experience in his life as if he owned the room, without looking back to see if I was still standing in the doorway. Even as a toddler he'd push me away or struggle to get out of my arms if there was something new and interesting to investigate. I never had to detangle him from my body and hand him screaming and thrashing to a teacher who clucked at me sympathetically and said "it's ok, he'll calm down as soon as you leave."
(his brother, however, Oy.)
Next summer he'll be old enough to attend his first year of a full ten days at Boy Scout camp. He probably won't want to leave.
I have another year to wrap my head around that.
I tried to post a couple of times from the iPhone while on mission trip this last week, but it never worked. Turns out there's a huge need for MORE BARS IN MORE PLACES SO THANKS FOR NOTHING FRACKING AT&T along I-70, as the dotted yellow line of hell leads you across Kansas toward Colorado and then into Wyoming.
The short version is: We survived. We worked hard. We played hard. We worshiped together. We slept on floors and took three minute showers, but only every other day. We mumbled our way through contemporary Christian songs that we didn't know but are apparently supposed to.
Did we grow deeper in our faith? I don't know. It's hard to tell. I'm not personally a big fan of the Helen Keller-at-the-pump faith moment, I tend to think faith is a journey of life, and when you arrive at the ultimate epiphany, it means you're dead.
But we know a lot more about each other, me and these teenagers that I call "my kids" when I talk about my job. Because they are mine. They are all mine, the teens from my church on the mission trip, the teens from the other churches that we met and served with along the way, the Native American children living on the reservation that we played with and loved on as part of the program. The little girl in the McDonald's somewhere in Wyoming, seemingly without an adult nearby, who was trying to climb on the soda fountain counter in order to pump ketchup into her little paper cup.
My own two genetic offspring, for whom breathing hurt as I missed them.
They are all mine. I am ultimately responsible for all of them, and for their well-being. I've always known this, I think.
I'm not entirely sure how my heart can bear that load. But it appears to be growing to compensate.
I love garage sales. I love to buy kid's toys at garage sales, especially. Who wants to pay $199 for a Cozy Coupe when you can usually find a perfectly good one at a garage sale for around $5 or $10? Not me, man. I gotta save money for wine.
A couple of weeks ago I held a garage sale and sloughed off a pretty good stash of junk. We still had a lot left, though, and I have a policy of what comes out for the garage sale does not go back into the house. ** Last week I made two big trips to Goodwill, including a baby swing which was my neighbors.
Turns out, Goodwill won't take baby swings anymore, or any other baby equipment, as with the new, completely useless (IMHO) laws about making sure there's no lead in these things and if you cannot prove there isn't lead in it then it MUST be there, and I'm sure Senator McCarthy is laughing his ass off from beyond, they can't.
(How's that for a run on sentence? I hate stupid laws, I cannot lie.)
Anyway, so I came back home with the baby swing. And I started to realize, hey, actually I think that's my baby swing. That I gave to my neighbor. And no I don't want it back and I wouldn't have cared if she made two bucks off of it in the garage sale, but hmmm, now that I think about it, that baby swing has had a rich life. Because I got it from my sister-in-law, ten years ago, after two of her boys had used it. And she had gotten it from another friend of hers four years before that.
So I decided to keep the baby swing, and put it in the basement in case someone comes to visit us who needs it. I have an unfinished basement for storage, its fine down there. And as I was relating all this back to my neighbor, the history of the swing and how I decided to keep it after all, she said, "Well, you never know. You might need it in twenty years when you have grandkids over!"
"Yeah, but..." I said, "with my luck I'll have a super-anal daughter-in-law who wouldn't dream of putting her precious baby in something so old and used."
**My husband would like to point out that I broke my rule and kept several things that did not sell, which are now still taking up space in the garage, meaning I cannot park there. That is because I have a few things that are antiques, that I was ambivalent about putting in the garage sale, like a dining set and a pair of fancy chairs and some other things that could probably net some decent cash on Craigslist if I can only get off my ass and actually post it there. Stay tuned.