Recently I’ve found myself wondering if my son’s lack of interest in or patience for age appropriate shenanigans is a result of his personality or the fact that he views these years within the context of the life he ultimately hopes to live. It’s probably a little bit of both. He’s like a zen buddhist, his brain front loaded with the kind of wisdom and perspective that comes from experience beyond his age. It’s noteworthy because it hasn’t always been like this.
I was exactly the opposite growing up. Overwhelmed by the ongoing drama at school and among my friends, I wanted to know everything, be a part of everything and even try my hand at manipulating the outcome. My son? He isn’t terribly interested in anything like that. I honestly think he sees this time, these high school years, as a stepping stone to something bigger, something better. It’s like he is waiting patiently to get wherever he’s going. And I’m kind of in awe of all that.
I never actually knew there was more to life than high school until I wasn’t in high school anymore. And I wonder why that is? I never saw my future or held on to a dream or even aspired to a specific career. I kind of fell into what I do and I am grateful every day that it has been such a good fit, but it was not my dream or my desire or my secret hope in any way.
I have written so much here lately about all the ways in which cancer has changed me. But this goes without saying: an event of this magnitude is life-altering in ways I am still discovering. And it didn’t just change me. It changed all of us. There is still a circling of the wagons here, my husband and son staying close, keeping watch. We’ve always done things together, the three of us, but the air around it feels different now. At a time when my son could — should? — be pulling away, he still refuses to stray very far.
Wednesday night we celebrated the birthday of a dear friend. We sat at a long, rectangular table and ate bowls of the most delicious pasta and talked about life, music, art, and families — but mostly music. It was the kind of evening I love best: a grown up night out. When we arrived at the party, someone cried out, “Oh, you must be G’s parents! I’ve heard so many wonderful things.” And I thought to myself, how sweet is it that our dear friends tell their dear friends about our son.
I spend a lot of my time now looking forward, trying to visualize the scenery of our future. I know it’s a waste of time. I know I can’t predict an outcome, but it comforts me to think that anything is possible. And in some ways, this is what cancer has given me — a second chance. A do-over of sorts. I want to live squarely in the moment at hand, holding tight to us three, to my sweet son and his patient, thoughtful way. I want to be G’s mom until my last breath. I want to look at life through his lens, let go of the drama, and just be.