Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Highway Song

I wrote this on the long drive between Sacramento and Los Angeles.  My older son, Jared, was with his school band, traveling by bus while my husband, younger son, Jack, and I drove down in our car. We planned to meet up with Jared after the band competition two days later and spend some time as a family at Disneyland.  It felt strange to make this trip that we had made so many times before without my first-born, and I couldn't help but think about how our lives had changed, and would continue to change, as my son ventured forth into adulthood.


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Somewhere on this road, on a bus full of exuberant middle-schoolers, is my son. His absence in the seat behind me tugs at my heart, for I understand that this is only the beginning of his gradual pull away from me.  The journey toward adulthood has begun.

I picture him, somewhere on this road, on a bus, laughing and talking with his friends. It is as it should be. When we dropped him off this morning, I asked him, "Are you happy to have a few days without us?"

"Yes," he replied, laughing.

This, too, is as it should be.

At the rest stop, my husband parks the car facing the freeway.  My eyes scan the river of vehicles stretching as far as I can see. I search for my child, desperate for a sign that, though separate from me, he is there, still within my reach, even if it is only my eyes that can reach him.

No buses appear, and our incomplete party continues on its way, he and I moving in the same direction, yet distinct and separate.

A heartbeat ago, I brought my precious boy into this world and without a thought, I set him on his path. Even though I have guided him along the way - walking beside him, holding his hand, helping him up when he tumbled - the journey has been all his own. It was only the newness of motherhood that deluded me into thinking that I played more than a supporting role.

As the road wanders on, I watch out the window the scenery sliding by. Will he see the same things I see? Will the endless rolling green hills quiet his restless spirit? Will the bird floating on majestic wings bring a smile to his lips? Will he eagerly drink it all in and marvel at the sheer beauty and magic of it all?

Or will he not even notice the world flashing past his window?

It is his journey, so it is for him to decide what he sees along the way. I can only hope his years with me taught him to look out the window out into the world beyond, to see the life all around him and the infinite possibilities it has to offer him.

Later on we will meet up, and my heart will leap with excitement just to have him near me again. I will listen with rapt attention to his stories, stories that are all his own and in which I do not play a part. I will be thankful to simply be afforded a window to his journey through its retelling.  For this is also as it should be.

Our tires hum a highway song as on and on we roll. It is neither happy nor melancholy.  Rather, it is both. It is the song of life.

And somewhere on this road, on a bus, too far away for me to hear, it plays for my son.


2 comments:

  1. You've captured it perfectly...
    At no time have I ever felt as strongly that my heart walks outside of my body as when my babes became teens and started living lives so wonderfully (terribly) their own.
    You've got this, Momma.
    It will be different, 'tis true.
    But he will always be your Boychild.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You've captured it perfectly...
    At no time have I ever felt as strongly that my heart walks outside of my body as when my babes became teens and started living lives so wonderfully (terribly) their own.
    You've got this, Momma.
    It will be different, 'tis true.
    But he will always be your Boychild.

    ReplyDelete