I am in Santa Cruz, California with my kids. Well, sort of with my kids. My son, Thor is staying at his father’s, and my daughter, Malia, is staying with friends.
I lived in Santa Cruz for about 13 years. Malia and Thor were born here. Their father and grandmother live here. They have friends here. They came to Santa Cruz to see friends and relatives. And me? I am here staying with two of the nicest women you could ever meet. I have spoken with them many times on the phone, but this trip is the first time I met them face to face. How did we meet? That is a long story and one I am not willing to share.
Coming almost 20oo miles and staying with people I have never met: am I adventurous, or just out of my mind? I am not sure how to answer that, just yet. But I’m glad I have come, and I’m glad I have finally met them.
Why did I decide to come in the first place? I’m glad you asked.
My daughter came to live with me when she turned 16. She graduated from high school in Iowa last spring and said she was going to California to see her friends. She informed me she was taking the bus….alone. By herself! I have made that trip many times and it was fine for me. But an 18 year old girl? I wasn’t comfortable with it, but instead of showing my concern by screaming, I said, “Why don’t you, your brother, and I take a trip together? We could drive to California, and you both can visit friends and see your dad and your grandma. I have a couple of women I talk to that I’d like to meet.” And here we are…or here I am.
We’ve been here almost a week. I haven’t done much but work on class work for my online class. It’s been nice being in a quiet setting. I never realized how many interruptions I had when I was working in Iowa. Not until now, when they aren’t there.
In Iowa, it’s just Thor and I living together. Malia just recently moved to Des Moines where she will start college in the fall. I didn’t realize until now just how many times a day I heard, “I’m hungry.” “Can you take me____?” “I need ____.” “Look at ____.” “I’m hungry!” “I need ____.” Well, you get the idea. With those interruptions it was a challenge to keep my mind in what I was working on. Here, I visit for a while, then I work. In silence, and I actually got quite a bit of work done, for about 3 days.
Today I realized more than ever how much I missed those distractions. I thought about how frustrated I got in Iowa when I was interrupted. But today I understand those interruptions are what make my son and I a family. Today I realized how close my 14 year old son and I are, and I miss him.
He came by today and I hugged him. I might have had a tear in my eye. I told Thor that I missed him, but he had come by because he needed something from his suitcase that is here. He got frustrated with my interruptions when he was trying to find something. He found it, said he loved me and left. The roles seem reversed; it’s me interrupting his work today. And I know how I felt when he acted annoyed by me interrupting him. It hurt in my stomach, like I was just in the way; he had more important things on his mind. More important than me.
I learned a little about life today. I walked a few steps in my son’s shoes and I didn’t like how it felt. And I bet he didn’t like it in Iowa when I was the one acting like he was in my way. I am glad today happened and now I know just a little more about relationships. As parents, we always do the best we can for our children. But sometimes we are wrong. I am glad I will have an opportunity to do things differently.
Thor is sleeping here tonight. His dad was too busy to spend time with him tonight. Something about doing something for a friend… I think Thor said his dad’s words were, “I can’t blow off my friend to hang out with you.” I wonder if he will ever know how that made our son feel. I saw his eyes when he told me. I hope his father gets a chance to do things differently, but sometimes we don’t understand what we do until it’s too late.
We go back to Iowa in a couple of days. I am glad I came. I still don’t know if I am adventurous, or out of my mind. Maybe a little of both, not too much of either that I can’t still learn.
’til next time