Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Quiet...and Waiting.

The silence of the evening has always called me to be thoughtful, to consider, to write and to make my lists. It was during the time that I was married to Ex that I honed the craft that was The List. I made lists like spiders made webs. It was my future I was listing – the days I would make money, and then control some aspect of my life.

Now there is no child in the house for me to put to bed, no child to worry over, and I have no noisy home. My home is silent (except for Hon’s work). I have to admit to a certain relief at this, because after all, the noise, the distraction and the business of a child is more than a full time job – it’s 24/7, there’s no one to ask for time off, there’s no one to ask for a raise. It’s just you, Momma, the person who brings the medicine when there’s illness, the one who takes off time from work with the ear infection and makes the last minute appointment with the doctor, the person who sits by the bed at night when there’s a warm forehead with a cool rag in your hand. Those were hard – but good – times. But the joy of the waiting at the end of the driveway, me and Dog, for The Boy to come home. It was good. And for The Girl, for her to come home, that was good as well. Dog got to know their schedules as well as I did (better, actually, because he sat at the door, and pressed his nose to the window, and when asked, “Want to go wait for The Boy?” would dash to the end of the driveway and look…then wait. Waiting is the hardest thing to learn. He learned it better than I.)

I don’t always pine, contrary to the tenor of this Weblog, for the noisy busy time of children. I do spend time thinking, researching, (obsessing) about my schoolwork. I cherish the time that I have worked for myself, that I have earned. I have raised TB, and he is, I believe, doing what he thinks is the only thing he can do. The thing that he thinks is best for him to do. And really, what is the ultimate goal of raising a child other than putting them on that path? That’s a path that they have to find themselves. I would expect a few false starts in the path-finding, obviously, because who knows what they want when they are 19? Or who really wants the same thing at 29 that they did at 19? It’s just a part of growing, and I grow as he grows.

He’s written now, to his dad. I know this because I suggested to my dad that he call Ex to see if any word from TB has been heard. All manner of word has been heard, according to Mrs. Ex, and they have heard via letter AND email. I have contemplated this now for two days, and I am learning how much thought goes into action. I used to just jump at the first inclination – the first possibility – for action. Someone said X and well, by Gahd, I said Y, and ran off to do whatever was contrary. I was a contrary kid. Apparently TB gets it natural.

But I am learning the subtle art of thoughtfulness, considering, contemplating. There is no rushing to this, no hurry. Although I would lie if I said I didn’t make a bee-line for the door when Dog alerted me to the mailman (BARK!) outside the door! (BARK!) Someone! (BARK!) is at! (BARK!! BARKBARKBARK!) the DOOR!!!!! (run in circles, jump a few times, hope for a treat BARKBARKBARK!) Oh. A few pieces of junk mail. A bill. Nothing handwritten…Although it’s nice to know that someone else is as frantic about the mail as I am.

But I am—really—learning the art of calming down about this. Actually, I am embracing the very old technique of my family – ignore the bad, and look for the good. I am looking for the good. Very, very hard.

TB may well discover a part of him, unknown to me, to him, to his dad, to anyone, that is in need of the type of strict discipline that I was unable to give him, and that his dad simply wasn’t around enough to give him. He may find a part of himself that I have never met. I hope that part of him decides to call me or write me sometime.

As I said earlier, there has been some news on the TB front. This is news that I have ruminated on for a couple of days now. My father called me yesterday morning to tell me that There Was News on the TB front, and sounded oh so much more relieved, so much more like My Dad. I sometimes wonder which part of this upsets me more: how much it bothers and upsets my mother and my father, or what might happen to TB.

Dad found that Ex and Mrs. Ex had heard from TB, and was very relieved to be able to relay this information to me. I was happy to hear it, and told Dad so. I then proceeded to begin the obsessing technique for which so many women (at least those featured on Sex and the City and other mindless shows) are known. If TB has decided to correspond with, and make PNOK, the Ex and Mrs. Ex, what does that do to what I will find out in the future? Will I learn anything from them? Will I hear anything from the military? Will I learn of terrible things by watching the evening news on PBS? I clearly won’t hear anything from Ex, as I knew that I wouldn’t. Will TB write me? If he doesn’t, and I get an address from Dad, which he has gotten from Ex and Mrs. Ex, should I write? Does TB even WANT to hear from me?

How is it that I – a mother, a being who is believed to know every single thing about her child, about every child – could not know what to do if given the contact information for her own child? Do I reach out to him? Or does he really just not want me in his life? I just don’t know, and all I can do is keep reaching. And keep waiting, with Dog, for the mail.

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