Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Roots and Wings

Rewind to last spring.

M called in the middle of the day, a somewhat unusual occurrence. As soon as I heard his voice I could tell something wasn't right, and here we go again. :-/ Well, thank God, no dislocated jaws or broken noses or motorcycle accidents this time. No, this time it was what hadn't happened yet.

"Mom. I don't know what to do."

I always have time to listen/talk to M, but that day I was at Firestone waiting for a new tire, so I really had time to talk and listen. M had just gotten the invitation of a lifetime: 19 days in Israel, all expenses paid, escorted by the IDF. Right up his alley in every way.

His dilemma? Since the age of 11, M has been a devoted uncle of seven assorted nephews and nieces, bonding with them and watching them grow up. At this point he had not seen any of them in several months, and he was afraid of what he might have missed by the next time he got to see them.

"Mom," he commented, "I know you are always going to be there, and you'll be the same." Flawed reasoning, that, but I got his drift. He went on, "But those little guys. . . Will they remember me if they don't see me?"

The Chance to Realize a Dream vs. the Memories of Home and Family. Yep. A dilemma. And how do you decide?

The Dream is what's coming. At least that's what you hope. It's what you live for. It's what you think you long for. It's what you want to achieve, though sometimes the anticipation is greater than the realization. Of course you never know that until you do it.

Home will always be there. Won't it? We would like to think so. But places change, and people change, and the only home that really stays the same is the one in our memory. The one to which there is no return.

"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin

So there they are. The two most important things we can give our children: Roots, and Wings. And the hope (I think...?) that when all is said and done, Roots will out.


Just Say No to Cardinals said...

Roots will out? Roots will win out or lose out?

You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time—back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.
-Thomas Wolfe

Marytoo said...

Whatever you want to do, do it now. For life is time and time is all there is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment to my blog. I see from your writing here that you also understand.

As our son deploys in a couple of weeks there have been feelings and conversations I have never wanted to feel and things I've had to hear that I've never wanted to consider or think about. Bottom line... I have NEVER imagined talking to my son about his own funeral. College graduation - sure. The proposal he would one day make to the love of his life - of course. Plans they might have for a wedding - I wanted to be in on those too. I've even imagined the glow in his face as he might one day tell me that he's making me a grandma - But this... hearing about decisions he's had to make in case the worst comes... Never in a million years!

Right now I'm just trying to find a way to breath. It's been two days since that conversation and I still haven't figured it out. My heart sits in the middle of my chest like a sack of concrete crushing my lungs.

Knowing there are other moms out there that know what this feels like helps. So thank you.