I really don’t like cleaning Sam’s room, because that means something: he is not home. This time, there lingers an unsettling heaviness, not just from the forgotten sock, balled in a barren corner since the last local tennis match. It’s a sadness of parting, because my little sunshine boy has grown into an independent young man who has recently signed a lease, a lease which extends beyond the school year, to a house: a green house with vintage charm; the house where he will likely live this summer, and perhaps to the end of his college years. I never had to worry much about Sam’s room. He was always tidy and, as a young boy, did not protest the Saturday morning house cleaning ritual as did his siblings.
So I am cleaning what has been left behind, wishing my boy could go on one last latte run to toast the years of blessings of which I am reminded as I fill the underbed storage bins with golf balls, baseball trophies, and paraphernalia of a little boy’s childhood. As I worked, Aaron was at my side, uninterested in the certificates and ribbons, stacking the new-to-him wooden blocks that had been well-loved by my older boys. The fear which kept me from, to this point, allowing the younger set to play with the blocks is obvious: such a thing flying at someone’s head could merit a trip to urgent care. I guess I never gave this a passing thought when I bought them in the early 1990’s.
To me, the blocks are sweet, dear treasures from my most peaceful days of parenting. I must have ordered them from one of the natural baby catalogs that were, indeed, my sources of leisure reading during those sleepy days. I guess I never really looked at them, though. Now that I have, and now that my eyes have been opened, there is new meaning, and a higher (yes!) level of awareness.
The precious hedgehog, parked on a stump much like those in our newly arranged sand pile, and fancy in his snappy pink pants and wooden shoes, is certainly smoking something. I guess I just never noticed. I was focused on what I found enchanting: the shiny fruit, the dancing ladybugs, the playful gnomes, and the frolicking children. Yet I was completely unaware of the big picture.
I really do not like being caught unaware. I do not like, as probably nobody else does, being blindsided; learning of something that should have been shared. Sometimes, though, that ignorance must certainly serve a purpose. Perhaps I am just not aware. I guess it was the right time for me to really notice the little hedgehog happily indulging with a hookah. I have teenagers. I have had teenagers that are now grown men. And maybe there are some things that we are just not meant to realize…until we do.
Deep, unwavering love, the truest of friendships, and the goodness of one’s spirit might be taken for granted until experience shows otherwise. I am not sure this should mean that we should live guardedly. Rather, I think I like the idea of giving all that I have, in each moment and with integrity, and never looking back. Each day, each moment, each breath…matters, as it is what we have, and what we are given. If I am pulled to awareness, I know that I have savored what was truly mine at the time.
All of my children, and all people, really, are unique. There are those that cross boundaries, those that may invoke a sense of anxiety or cause a gray hair…or many. And there are those that proceed to adulthood without seeming to step over a line. My lesson learned, today and for every day, is that I should take the days as they come, remembering that the actions of others really have nothing to do with me, and that I should strive to fill my soul with the positive energy that comes from living and loving, even if unaware of what is around the corner…or right in front of me.