“There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
They don’t let me write publicly about them anymore. Not by name, anyway.
They captain their own ship now. Except, of course, when they’re steering toward rocky cliffs or when the sea is too stormy, then I get the helm. Or maybe they are the stormy sea, and I’m the boat. Or vice versa. Or maybe I’m a particularly powerful head wind, slowing their course, and try as they might they can’t steer out of it.
Or maybe I don’t yet know what metaphor to use for this time in our lives – a time when our intertangled selves, which has been one whole thing for so long, are disentangling into three separate beings. (But whatever the metaphor is, it involves being yelled at for “all my rules” in the same thirty minute period that I have to remind them – yet again – not to leave trash, dirty socks, and a pile of papers strewn over the living room floor.)
All of which is to say: they’re teenagers now. Continue reading
It wasn’t even dusk on the west coast when I sprawled out
on the king sized bed in a hotel room in Chelsea,
my legs and arms spread wide as they go,
no limbs at risk of touching any edge,
of falling off the luxurious comfort of vacation.
My burning eyes closed on their own
as I lay thinking
I should take the subway into Boston and make wild love to it,
this city I’ve just met.
The flight was overbooked.
“We need a volunteer,” they said.
“Who’s willing to delay going back?
Who is eager to stay another day?”
Or a week? Or forever?
Who’s willing to cancel their life altogether?
I could’ve already returned to the city of roses and bridges and rain,
To the dome of gray sky.
To the sitting job and the passionless demands
To the mild coma of daily life.
To the place where I exchanged my youth
for a tired, middle aged woman.
A place whose charms and oddities,
once so delightful,
I’d like to once again be endeared to.
I came to it dry and sun withered,
and it made me moist;
I soaked it up like a dried sponge in a rain storm.
But now I’m damp
and I feel split
like fruit left to ripen too long on the vine.
I wouldn’t come back at all
if not for our children.
They belong to it
as much as me
and it’s they who pull me back,
like the sun draws the earth toward it
September 25, 2013