Yesterday was prep day for leaving on a very long journey. I’ll be traveling with my two young adult children ages 21 and 18 and my husband.
It will take many hours to reach our destination. We’ll be a long way from home.
I decided to start some of the heavy preparation two days ahead of time.
I made sure my schedule remained clear starting three weeks ago. No clients, no meetings, no classes.
A Monday of cleaning, moving clothes out of my drawers so the people staying here can make themselves comfortable, tidying up.
I ask my kids to work with me on household preparations from noon until 6 pm when their dad will pick them up for an evening out, before they leave town for almost three weeks of not seeing him at all.
Everyone’s doing their thing.
Husband is out making copies of the house key for our visitors. I’m at Rite Aid buying melatonin, dishwashing soap for the cupboard at home, travel shampoo.
My daughter is totally inspired and cleaning all the food cupboards in the kitchen, throwing away old items, washing the surfaces, organizing the canned goods (it was kind of stunning….this kind of thing has been happening for awhile from her).
I’m running a load of dishes, and vacuuming out my car.
Then I decide to locate the passports and put them on my dresser.
My son’s isn’t in the usual place, with mine and my daughters.
“Hey Benj?! You got your passport handy?”
He calls from his bedroom.
“Oh. It’s in my safe. Up at school. In my new apartment.”
It’s not a huge emergency or anything. It takes about an hour and a half to drive there. But it’s critical, you know? He can’t leave the country without his passport.
In the old days, before The Work, I might have snapped at him. “Why didn’t you think of this before?! Huh?!”
Instead, I notice the flare of realizing, and then the wave calms down.
But I say “You need to drive up there today. Not tomorrow. It’s too important.”
I send his dad a text.
The way it all comes together is my son, his dad, and my daughter are all driving north to where my son will be attending his senior year in college starting next month. This is their new plan for the evening.
My plans aren’t different at all.
House is empty, I’m writing, I’m eating leftovers out of the fridge, I’m sitting on the front porch couch enjoying the gorgeous summer evening.
But I have a thought…..my son is going to space out of everything, he’d lose his own head if it wasn’t connected to his body, he’s soooo chill he’s going to fall asleep while standing, I need to talk with him about how often he smokes pot (doesn’t that make people slow?) and how funny he’s the one I have to worry about rather than my daughter.
“He’s the one I have to worry about.”
I have to worry about him, is that true?
Last night, the whole change of plans just fell into place without any uproar. My son, my daughter, their dad…all hopped in a car and ventured off to their evening project: get the passport and eat rare road-trip food along the way.
Who would I be without the belief I have to worry about my son?
Noticing I don’t.
He’s having his own life, and there are minutes, hours, days, and weeks where he handles it. Beautifully.
He’s the most kind, genuine person. He’s loving, easy-going, articulate, and authentically gentle and very smart.
But what if this was not his experience, and he was hurting. Or on the street. Or disappeared like someone’s son I did The Work with (presumably using meth).
Who would you be without the belief you have to worry about someone you love?
This doesn’t mean don’t speak with that person you care about so much.
Tell the truth, be honest.
“Tell me what it’s like for you when it comes to thinking about getting a job, or finishing school this next year, or what you like about smoking pot.”
It’s not about fading into the background or staying quiet about what you really care about.
Which is my kid.
I turn the thought around: I’m the one I have to worry about, especially when it comes to my son.
You know what the origin of the word “worry” is, or where it comes from?
It is from “wyrgan” which means strangle.
Which so reminds me of Not Speaking.
If you have a son or daughter or person in your life who you are strangling yourself from speaking to, or speaking about, or you’re feeling mute, and strangled from saying what you really need and want to say…..
I’ll let you know how it goes when I do.
I’m spending 3 weeks with him, every day, and we are talking.
No doubt about it.
“Would you rather be right, or free?” ~ Byron Katie