Week 5 has come and gone and my update is a day late. I am struggling with what exactly to write. Not because you as a reader cares per se, but because I want to make sure I get it ‘right’.
Part of me wants to tell you about the beautiful week we had in Calistoga, enjoying the town and bumping up our training for the quickly approaching triathlon we are doing at the end of the month. Or the achingly perfect night we had at Limantour Beach in Point Reyes, where the beach was warm and still and the sun set in a blaze of orange and pink and I offered my full moon prayers up to the night sky. Only as we drove away in the dark, did the giant moon rise above the trees, startling us with its size.
And then there’s the piece I want to share about housesitting for a few days in an actual home, with laundry and a dishwasher and kitties and separate bedrooms – privacy!
But much of the actual reporting of details is overshadowed by the raging fires up in Napa and Sonoma counties going on right now as I type. In fact, just a few hours ago, the entire town of Calistoga, where we were just days ago, is under mandatory evacuation. Here in the Bay Area, where we are pet sitting, the air smells like a campfire and the sky has an eerie orange glow. We started our journey in early September with ash raining down from Washington forest fires and ash is falling down again. A surreal sense of familiarity.
Perhaps most important for me to convey, but hardest to put into words, is the deep gratitude I’ve been feeling for this time I am spending with my son. Harlan has been going back and forth between his dad’s house and mine since he was a toddler. For most of his life, I haven’t been able to be with him every day. As Harlan has grown and matured into a young man, he has naturally pulled away from me. I have felt that this was right and natural for his age, and have accepted it as a milestone of growing up.
But to have this chance…a second chance if you will…to be with my son, to wake up with him every morning, to plan our days, to swim laps side by side, to eat together, to turn off the lights and go to sleep in unison – is a gift.
Don’t get me wrong, this ‘gift’ is not always appreciated or easy. I am “on” as a parent 24/7, teaching, nudging, supervising, buying ingredients, making meals, cleaning up, (a lot of energy is spent around food – which anyone who knows me knows that is not my strong suit – cooking or feeding!) Harlan is a typical teen – he is definitely not overjoyed to hang out with his mom every minute of every day. In fact, he can lapse into morose silence quite easily. And I can chatter happily about anything and everything, which bums him out. What we do have is respect for each other and an ability to have conversations about what is annoying us. We also share a sense of humor for most everything and can usually laugh about things.
I know I have been given a rare opportunity, at a time where most 15 year old boys are launching out in the world, establishing their independence, I have this precious window, a tiny sliver of time, to be with my son and parent him, perhaps fill in some of the blanks that I skipped or missed, to see him as the fine young man that he is vs. the cuddly little kid I sometimes wish he still was. Harlan was the baby of the family and I still tend to want to baby him as my ‘go to’ first response. I am getting to know him. To think I may have missed this chance if not for this journey is a sobering thought. This feels big and deep and personal. Again, not easy for me to put into words.
Every day continues to present learning opportunities. It’s crazy how much he is being introduced to by traveling as we are. Here are just a few things I can think of in just the past few days:
- Weather Patterns
- Distance calculations
- Different Cultures/Ethnicities
- Map reading
- Solar panels
- Interactions with all ages
- Self Awareness
- Self Care
This week finds us finishing up our housesitting gig and enjoying the comforts of a home and cats. Continuing to train (although the air is quite compromised which is imposing some rest days – probably a good thing) and we will push off on Sunday to a new destination. Stay tuned and, as always, thanks for following along!