Saturday, July 6, 2013

I Was Thinking of My Son

     I watched fireworks on the fourth but I wasn't thinking about America.  I should have been, I know.  I should have been thinking about how it's the only holiday that we celebrate writing, words on a piece of paper, and about all the men and women that risked their lives to put force behind those words.  I should have been pondering how we gather in such large crowds year after year to celebrate America and being American no matter the risk and what it means for us as a nation that it takes explosions to bring us together.  I should have been marveling in my mind at all the ins and out of the past and future of this longest running social experiment in history that we call a country.  I wasn't thinking of any of that, though.
     I was thinking of my son.
     He called me three times that day because apparently there has been some flooding around my ex-wife's house and there wasn't much going on.  He was bored and I hated that he was bored on the fourth.  It had always been a big holiday for us.  Barbecuing and blowing stuff up are the sort of things guys bond over.  Every year there has been more food and bigger bangs and I'm sure this year would've been our best yet but it was not to be.
     His last call to me that day came as I was driving to the fireworks.  I didn't get to talk to him for as long as I wanted or he wanted.  All I could do was remind him of the fun we'll have when he comes home.  As we unfolded our blanket and staked out our spot by the river to watch the show my mom called.  I didn't get to talk to her either.  I ignored her call because it was too loud to even attempt a conversation.
     The fireworks were beautiful and impressive but they didn't really capture my imagination.  Since I work where I do I've seen and felt more impressive explosions and they don't really have a positive association in my mind.  I imagine the feeling I get watching fireworks is similar in some small way to how a soldier feels when they seem them.  I don't think that was the main reason the big booms didn't really distract me much from life, however.
     I was thinking of my son.
     The best part of the show was the family sitting behind me.  There was a boy of about ten or so that kept trying to sound smart about the show and his older sister was wisecracking to him about it.  He kept saying here comes the grand finale almost from the start of the show and she kept saying wait for it, wait for it.  Their parents were cracking up at the exchanges.  Every now and then, though, when an impressive burst would fill the sky both kids who ohh and ahh and talk about what their favorite part of it was.  I could almost hear their parents smiling then.
     I wanted to call my son and somehow share the sights and sounds with him but I didn't. It was too loud for us to talk and I thought that might have only made him miss me, and everything else, more.  It could be, though, that I just told myself that because talking to him would've only made me miss him, and everything else, more.  Either way, I didn't call him and when my mom tried to call again during the show I ignored that call too.
     I don't miss my ex wife.  I don't miss being married.  I miss our little family, though.  I miss going to things like firework shows together and laughing with his mom as our son tries to act too cool for school.  I miss him sitting there in between us with love on both sides of him.  I miss him holding both our hands and looking at things in wonder.  I miss him then realizing he was holding both our hands and dropping them like hot potatoes and his mom and I looking at each other again and laughing at how much of a boy our boy is.  Listening to that family behind me made me think of all that.
     I was thinking of my son.
     I wanted to call him and hear his voice when the show was over but it was too late, of course.  I did text my mom and tell her that I had been at a fireworks show.  She said that she was happy to hear from me and that everyone had missed me and was thinking about me all day.  I read the space in between her words and knew what she was thinking so I told her not too worry, her baby boy hadn't been lonely.  She said she was glad I had a good time.
     She was thinking of her son.
     I guess what I'm going through this summer with my son being gone isn't much different than what every parent goes through at one time or another.  I'm just going through it a little earlier in life but maybe that's somehow a good thing.  Maybe this will make both him and I better prepared for when he does grow up and move away.  Maybe it's one of those blessing in disguise things I'm always hearing about.  Then again, maybe this is just another thing I'm telling myself so I don't miss him so much.  If so, it's no big deal.  What's a little lie on the fourth of July?

1 comment:

  1. great read Paul, fireworks always make me think of my dad, the glow of the sparks how they lit his face, the smiles he would give us, the reaction we gave him with the booms. The occasional fallout from the sky surrounding us, the one that never left the ground. I love the smell of sulfur, gasoline, and grease because of my dad, and it doesn't matter what day you get to have those moments with your son, they will live on like precious memories for him. I promise you that friend.