Friday, June 22, 2012
on brothers and milestones
my little brother leaves for college this weekend. between beach trips and summer school and a busy schedule and the crazy/hectic/beautiful life of a teenager, i haven't seen him much these hot months. but i still call him every night and i'm still planning the long trip east this weekend to move him in. the same way i did for my sister, and they did for me upward of ten years ago.
and it's wonderful. it's such a gorgeous thing to grow and go and move and experience new things. but it's got me thinking about life and children. about the cycle of it all.
because no one ever tells you how to love a child. they tell you how to make your own hair bows with ribbon and a hot glue gun, how to sneak vegetables into a casserole, make all the voices on sesame street, bury pets discreetly, and make a halloween costume from a bed sheet. you learn how to pack a baby dress without crying and to drive away from the preschool with only one eye left lingering, sobbing and hot, still searching for her face pressed against the window. you become a doctor, blowing kisses on a skinned knee when the training wheels are taken off too soon. you are counselor and culprit, bank and hotel.
until one balmy summer, you find yourself in the middle of a little college town wondering how in the world it came to all of this. how the one person you know better than anyone is getting smaller and smaller in the rearview and you think as the pit forms in your gut if you really loved her the way you could have. if you didn’t have to learn all those things and take on all those roles. if all you had to do for eighteen years was lie in bed and cocoon her against your chest, rocking her back and forth as she grew in the nook of your elbows, her knees against her belly at first, then jutting out and resting against your own, until eventually you are two well-rested persons who have not really lived, but who have loved to their core.
it's times like these i think on such things. and lo, when that day comes that we are faced with this time, i hope i handle it with half the grace and optimism my parents have. because while no one teaches you these things, you do indeed learn. that's the mercy. and the learning and loving make a padding for the leaving.
love you, clint.