He would wait every year for August, when the county carnival would come for five days. We would be at the gates by noon so he could buy the tickets he needed to be a pilot for a day. I would go through a $20 dollar roll and it was enough to ride until dusk since the old rides were a third of the tickets as the modern ones.
I lament - and often. I sing my rendition of "Where did my baby go" and the 85 mph cracking velocity of feeling your children grow up is something that is definable. Loss, dispossession, unhaving. I remember the days of him riding on that airplane carousel, and they seem so far away. That serious look on his face, if it weren't for the picture, I would have forgotten how he never rode the forgotten rides of old bombers with a smile or laughter. He was at work, he was seeing himself one day, there.
In the early days of parenting, on through the rush of childhood, and the dizzying breakneck of high school, we only feel the tasks. We don't have the time to remember, there is an after that.
But once we arrive in a new land, we begin to understand the landscape. We are there, with them, as we always have been, traveling forward. Their goal was growing closer.... we were inching toward it all along but when it's visible, not as a threat looming to take something away from us but more of an entry to a new view. It's our hands we now see, that were the ones on the potter's wheel, witnessing a taking of shape.
Today is my son's first birthday away from home. I sent him helium balloons and money, but, dear baby jeebus it's a long day without him here. I have what feels like a golf ball stuck in my throat from missing him so much. I know today is different for him, I know he's happy, as anyone would be when they finally get to hold their prize.
How is it that our children grow up, when they still look the same.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, my son. I miss you, I love you forever.
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