A lesson in determination
I am away from him now…I have my memories and my desires and sometimes those are more poignant than skin and will, because they are only mine. But I have to be careful not to slide down the slope of mine-ness, the reliable, comfort of me because it’s lonely there, in the comfort of me there is no other skin but my own.
And with that I start my post!
Yesterday my son, the one I am responsible for more than any other, was spending time with his German friend. It’s been more difficult fostering their relationship, more so than with his Spanish friend. Sally says it’s because she forced it too much with the German girl (and I have to say, I think I did too). We were busy, after all, and wasn’t it about time he grew up and just got along? Obviously not, because he didn’t and now it’s taking us and him and her much much longer to recreate the trust that was violated by simply feeling like our business was more important than his blossoming psyche. Oh well…live and learn.
Well one of the things that happens now is that either Sally or I need to be around while he is with the German. We speak to him slowly and directly and eye to eye and tell him that we are going to be doing some work and that we want to do it alone but that we are not going anywhere, that we will be right here at this desk but that we won’t play with him right now because we’re working. We love him, but we’re not going to play with him right now. He understands, at least somewhat; I’m sure of it but that doesn’t mean he’s ok with it or, especially it doesn’t mean he’s ok with us leaving or changing our plans.
He frequently up and leaves the German girls presence in the middle of playing to come and check that daddy is in the same place that he said he would be and after leaning on the desk or point at my “Pequter” (Computer) he generally ambles back over to her and resumes his German and his playing.
For some reason, this day, i decided it was important that I leave the house, not the farm in general but the house we were all in, in favor of heading to another house on property that might have had a better internet connection. I needed to work for the love of god, my bandwidth was not in tune. So I waited until they went outside and were playing gently. And I took my chance…
There was no going out the front door, he would hear and then see me. It was the back porch and then loop around out of site, make the corner and then I’m home free, he won’t even miss me. I made it out the door, down the stairs…no toddler…up on to the driveway…heading for the corner, no toddler, a couple more feet, just around the next tree…and I’ve got it…wait! What was that?
If you’re a parent you know the sound of your child. You know the sound of a human baby. There is a knowing before you even realize you know. Like something old, old inside the humanity or us all that simply gets engaged with parents. It’s more like a sonar or radar or some type of invisible sense…whatever it is…My son had seen me, and I knew he had seen me and he didn’t care whether I knew he had seen me.
He had forgotten anything about balls or grass or water or empty cans or rocks or trucks or even the pretty German girl…he was head down, tears full, toddling in my direction. I was about 50 yards away, how the hell did this kid see me? I figured I’d simply high tail it up the road, after all it was 100 yards, at least, to the other house and I’d soon be out of his sight. Good plan. I picked up the pace. His cries faded, maybe he was calming, realizing he could no longer see me, going back to German.
I entered the house a couple minutes later, went to the kitchen, plugged in and sat down. Quiet. Bandwidth. Work…wait. What was that? No…the house I was in was more than 150 yards away from the other house, out of sight from it, but there it was again, that sound, through wood and glass, piercing the wind…my son. I look out the window and he is toddling along the side of this house, he doesn’t see me but he’s coming in. He’s been here before enough time with daddy. He hasn’t seen me for 5 minutes but he’s turning the corner, I lose sight of him but I know he’s heading to the stairs. I get up from my seat, my disbelief trumped only by the realization of my choices and what they meant to him which is trumped only by my immense inspiration at the depth and power of his motivation and persistence. I slowly and quietly unlock the door, like you would when you don’t want the toddler to know you’re there but you want him to be able to enter. He hasn’t seen me now for 6 minutes and is climbing the stairs. “Dahhdeeee” “Dahhdeee”. The big door opens and strawberry curls and porcelain cheeks enter, wet, seeking…he doesn’t see me, he cries…I move slightly and he turns…”Daddyyyy” he says to me “Dadddyyyy” and reaches up for me.