Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two Chairs

There are two chairs pointed west out on my back patio, perfectly poised to take in the sunset.

Yesterday my friend came over in the late afternoon while the sun was warming the summer bugs out of their hiding places. We sat in those chairs and talked about our lives; about being divorced men at our age and all the perplexity it causes on an almost daily basis. For both of us the most common thread of conversation came in the form of pain. Not only the physical aches and pains that come from being men with physical jobs, but also the emotional pain that comes from being men with children who seemingly don't need us, or worse yet, don't want us. It's disheartening. It's hard working day in and day out, chugging along diligently...toward what? More of the same?

I'm acutely aware that the whole purpose of raising a child is to grow them into an autonomous, self-sufficient, balanced individual who can thrive without me. But I also really LIKE my children. I have always hoped that one of their adult choices would be to consider me as their friend. I've been careful not to confuse them as children, however, into thinking that we were friends just yet. I am clearly their dad and I love them unconditionally. Oh sure, I make my share of mistakes, but I think they know they are loved. So why does it appear as though I may not get that which I crave--the friendship of my kids?

My parents had seven children and while my dad is no longer with us, I don't think my mom would count all seven of us as her friends. It's not because she wouldn't have chosen each one of us as a friend, I believe it's because some of us have chosen HER as a friend and some haven't. As hard as that was for me to write, I can't imagine how hard that must be for my mom. You see, while she will forever be my mom, she has also become my friend. Part of autonomy and self-sufficiency is the ability to pick your own friends; to put forth the effort into making a relationship work to it's fruition. It's quite possible that my children may not want to be my friends.

There are two chairs pointed west out on my back patio, perfectly poised to take in the sunset.

Tonight, I'll sit in one of them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just a Monday

Yesterday would have been my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, but instead it was just a Monday. Which is not to say that I didn't think about it more than a few times during the day. In fact, the night before I had a really sweet dream about when we were still 'we'. The kids were all little and happy and nearby. There was laughter and playing and childhood all around me. It was the memory of that dream that had me tearing up several times during the day. You see, that dream exists in my soul whether it actually appears in dream form or not. It's as close as my shadow. And that has hindered my moving forward. What if I outrun my shadow? It's ridiculous that I'm still asking that question. I'll never know the answer if don't start walking.

Yesterday was just a Monday.