August 2010 Archives

GROWN CHILDREN

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The Water Will Hold Us

On a perfect summer afternoon in the hills of Bath County, Virginia, I find myself walking down a shaded grass path that winds along past an ice-cold pond and dead-ends at a broad, cool river. I have a lot on my mind. I am on red alert for any movement hinting at snake maneuvers in the high weeds that line the path. I am mesmerized by the balletic circling of two hawks, round and about each other, in the sky over my head. Also, I experience a secret and guilty pleasure that I, a woman of advanced age who should know better, am not wearing sun block because I am sick of putting it on; exhaustion from the trial-by-fire of delayed flights and missed connections between Boston and Richmond; and worry about my son.

Worries about my son are the white noise of my mind, the constant low hum that plays behind all other thoughts and feelings. Recently, I have worried about his SAT scores, a shin stress fracture from soccer, his seeming inability to turn in homework for AP Physics, his having a girlfriend, his not having a girlfriend, his going out too much at night, his staying home alone on weekends, his inability to buy decent Christmas gifts, his inability to complete college applications more than one hour before they are due, the fact that he doesn't hold the door for me anymore, the fact that he's grown three or four inches taller in the last few years but has gotten no wider, and the pressing constant worry behind all current worries, the hum behind the white noise, the fact that he is an adolescent boy, a newly minted young man, about to head out into a world rife with parties and fist fights, harvest moons and broken hearts, risks and failures, love and loss.

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