So as she is wont to do, Kelly Hogaboom posted a beautiful, touching, nuanced blog post about mother/parenthood and her daughter over at one of her blogs. Now I’m a pretty weak-sauce also-ran in the blogosphere when it comes to putting myself next to K-Boom, but I feel like you can’t really hold me at fault when I want to ride her coattails and post a vignette of my own when she is so goddamn inspiring.
So the other night was day 3 of Beth being down in Ashland, Orygun on a 2.5 week stint, getting ready to lay down some serious Britten Screw-Turning. I’m holding it together with the amazing help of good friends and an amazing community. But it’s hard. It’s always hard, for obvious reasons of time and logistics. But it’s also hard going through the motions with a Beth-shaped hole in my day. It fucks with my program. This is good, as there is nothing better to develop appreciation of a thing than it’s complete absence, but all the same; hard.
So, it’s 11:50PM, and Nate’s urgent pee-break from sleep at the end of the first REM cycle* pops up like clockwork. But tonight is more subdued. It’s not accompanied by cries of unintelligible fear and distress, which will be dispelled by taking a whizz. There’s just some shuffling, the pad of footsteps, a pause at my door, and a very sleepy request;
“Daddy, I’m thirsty”.
He continues to the bathroom, Bachman Turner Overdrivin’ it, and trusting I will do the same. I should be asleep now, but as I said before, No-Beth is fuckin’ up my Christmas, so I hop right out of bed and go to the kitchen to get a sippy cup of water. But as I pass the bathroom, door open, light on, I pause. He’s standing there, swaying slightly. He reaches up, unsnaps the top of his footy pajamas, unzips, sighs once, and begins the evacuation.
And I start to cry.
He does not look 4 years & 11.5 months. He looks like he is 16. He looks like myself, in my minds eye, during innumerable midnight urinations. In control, but only bringing the barest necessary level of consciousness to the task at hand, which is little. But he doesn’t deface the seat/floor. He knows the drill, but he’s already thinking about getting back to that dream he was having (his dream recall is far superior to what mine ever was).So, dig if you will a picture, of a Dad watching his almost 5-year-old pee, while he cries in the hallway. Poetic, eh?
I did say that Beth being gone is hard on me.
We will go to The Circuit rock climbing gym this coming weekend and celebrate 1/2 of a century of his existence. It will be fun, or possibly not. Most likely it will be fun, but we’ve fully entered the phase where sometimes you can’t stop the trainwreck. But odds are, fun will be had. There will be cute pictures. There will be pictures that are cute, but also shocking, as the will show his rapidly advancing development. He’s gonna be freakin’ rock climbing, and 6 months ago getting him to wipe his own ass was like arguing with a Global Warming denier. I will watch with pride, love, and amazement.
But I won’t cry. I’ve already taken care of that.