Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Workin' for a Livin'"

The late afternoon sun was streaming in, glowing past the sheers fluttering in the breeze. Nate was in the bathtub rinsing the sand and chlorine from his afternoon at surf camp followed by his swimming lesson at our local Boys and Girls Club. I scurried around rinsing and hanging swimming gear, trying to get dinner on the table and meeting the needs of our lonely puppy.

Before long, I heard the water draining from the tub...I took Cooper out to the front yard and when we returned Nate appeared on the steps looking down at me. He was still wet from the bath, wrapped in a fluffy white towel. His skin pink from the afternoon at the beach and eyes that shone from fatigue and tears.

"Mom?"

"Yeah? Are you okay?"

"Mom, it's time."

Oddly, I felt like he was a pregnant wife, needing to get to the hospital. "Time? Time for what?"

"It's time for me to go."

"Go where?"

"Mom, I'm going to miss you every day." Tears rolled.

By this point, I was thoroughly confused, feeling trapped in a melodrama in which one of us was surely doomed. "How about we get you dressed and talk about this some more in your room?" More tears, quiet streaming tears from brilliant blue shining eyes. Tired eyes.

"Mom, it's just time for me to go. I've supported you long enough. It's time for me to move on."

"Oh my, that sounds rough. How is it that you've supported me?"

"You know, growing potatoes and corn for our family, I just can't do it anymore." (It's true, he is getting quite a harvest this year, eight potatoes and 3 ears of corn; grown from an old potato and a bag of microwave popcorn no less.)

"That is hard work. How about Dad and I take care of supporting us from now on and you stick around a while longer?"

"No, I have to go. Now I have to say goodbye to Dad and Cooper." More tears and some wailing...Instead of exiting his room for goodbyes, he shut his door. "August 28 is when I have to leave."

"I'm glad you'll be here for Dad's birthday and our trip to Ventura. Where do you suppose you will go after that?"

He looked at his great big map on the wall and pointed purposefully to Australia, Perth, to be exact. "Wow, that's a long way, how will you get there?"

"Fly. I just have to go, I've supported you too long, I have to go find a job I actually like." (Uh, oh...)

"I was hoping you'd stay with us another 10-12 years, I'm not really done taking care of you and I would miss you very much. Besides, how are you going to afford to fly to Australia, and then where will you live?"

He commenced to pacing around the room, "Mom, that's why I can't leave till August 28, I have to do chores for you to earn money for the plane. Also, a lemonade stand, that should be enough."

"I see, that's an awful lot of chores and lemonade, but it's good to have a plan. Where will you live once you get there? How will you earn money to pay for your life?"

"I will live on a farm and grow vegetables."

"Hmmmm...You do know that Jarrah will be home from Australia by August 28th don't you? How about you just stay here for another ten years?"

"Okay, I will just go to Oregon then, and I will walk there on August 28. I can't stay here any longer, it's just time Mom. And Mom, promise you won't ever move, so I can write you letters every day." More tears and dramatic throwing of himself into my lap. Incidentally, this kind of drama worked better when he was less than fifty pounds.

Shaun came in the room, wondering what all the emoting was about. Nate insisted that I explain, and while I did, he got up from my lap and circled the room, preparing for Shaun's response. I also feared what it might be, not because I don't trust him, but because my own childhood was rearing up. I distinctly remember feeling quite stuck in my own threats of running away as a small child. My mom responded by (eventually?) packing up my flowered suitcase and depositing me on the front stoop. I remember thinking, 'Well, now I really have to go...and where is it I can go?'

Anyway, back to this decade, Shaun's first response was how much he would miss him and then he got into the details of his plan. Travel arrangements, luggage, employment and the like.


Eventually, Shaun said good night and I laid down next to our six year old little supporter. "Guess what?" I asked. "You are not going anywhere without me for a good long time. Daddy and I will support our family and you will live with us till you are all grown up and go off to college, that's it, end of story."

"Mom, can I stay here after, when I'm in college too?"

1 comment:

Sam said...

That is awesome! I love that he picked Perth, and that he seemed like a pregnant woman. I thought my kid was dramatic! xo