January 17, 2007

Distance is Relative

I only wear t-shirts to work around the house or lay around the house, depending on the mood of the moment. Rarely do I appear in public so attired. The neckline of a t-shirt is just not flattering on me.

That's not to say I don't own many t-shirts. I do. Too many. Some have cute sayings, others are emblazoned with sports team logos, none are blank and none have breast pockets. They are white, black, yellow, green, but the color I most often choose to wear from my t-shirt collection is gray. Various shades of gray. Again, not the most flattering color on me but who cares when one is laying around the house?

My most favorite t-shirt of all, I stole. Swiped it from someone near and dear to me. I don't think he noticed or would even particularly care if he had. I justify the theft by telling myself I had paid for it anyway. It was part of The Boy's high school gym uniform.

It is soft, soft, soft. Soft in the way only well-worn cotton can be. When I first obtained it, our last name was boldly lettered in black in the oblong designated to display such information. Over the years, repeated washings have faded that ink to nothingness. The other graphics on the shirt have faded too but no holes have appeared. Yet. I know they are coming. Old t-shirts embrace such things.

Why would I steal my son's shirt? I didn't think about it then but I know now. It's a tangible way of keeping a piece of him near. Silly me. Used to be I'd wear it to comfort myself. Sometimes I still do, but it has grown to be comforting in a completely different way. I'll miss it when it finally wears out.

The Boy is now a senior in college, on track to graduate in May of this year. He and I were in the midst of a conversation over the holidays when he said, "After this visit, I don't know when I'll be home again."

He's right, of course. The fairly regular patterns of life as a student will morph into life as he chooses to live it. Where will he work this summer? Where will he be in the fall? What opportunities will present? Will he land the job he seeks? When he does, where will it take him?

Over the past four years, cocooned in my stolen t-shirt, I've worked on figuring out how to be a parent to an adult child. I've often said each stage of his life has been more fun than the last, all equally as challenging and fondly remembered. The future, it comes, ready or not. The secret is not in the knowing, but in the being in it together as it unfolds around us.

The Boy will never live right around the corner, odds are he'll not even live in the same state. But we'll still be together. Family can be like that. I hope ours always is.



Anonymous said...

After this visit, I don't know when I'll be home again.


Whereever you are, whereever he goes..together you will be.

Anonymous said...

Very moving post Suzanne!

Anonymous said...

I can only echo what Deborah said... from what I've read on your blog, you and your son are very close, so I very much doubt that milses will cause any more than physical separation.

Anonymous said...

so is this my destiny?
we are so not there yet.
Ferris left on Monday to go back to school.
He packed his car and we said our goodbyes, and off he went.
He came back the next night...cuz he forgot something.
Of course... we fed him.

Missy said...

I just came across your blog. I am so with you on this one.

Take care.

nina michelle said...

aw geez... this post tugged at my heart strings. Very nice Suzanne!

Gina said...

Is it bad that I am breathing a little sigh of relief that I am nowhere near Mr. P living somewhere else?

I am sure your family will always stay close. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

SassyFemme said...

With the obvious love that you all have for each other you will always be together in heart, even if seperated by miles!

agoodlistener said...

You're a parent forever, no matter how old your children may be. Your children are your children, however galling that may be to them sometimes. This is such a great thing we do, isn't it?

Oh--I also have an old t shirt that I keep. I don't wear it. It just sits in a drawer. It's got a hokey sentiment on it like, "I get high on mountains". My younger brother who died in 1984 (lymphoma)used to wear it.

Anonymous said...

Love it.

and tee shirts are the best.


WenWhit said...

That shirt's as soft as your heart, darlin. Both are very special.

cbar said...

I grew up in Philadelphia, lived my whole life there with parents, my sister and my brother. My sister moved out to Harrisburg, then to CA, and finally now to Baton Rouge. I lived in Philadelphia mostly, then CA, now Virginia. My brother still hasn't left the nest yet, but you can tell he's getting ready to. My parents are STILL 2 of the most important people in my life and I always feel the pull to go back to them.
Dad bought us all a Magellen Roadmate for Christmas "So we can always find our way home" but truth be told, I could find it blindfolded from the depths of the ocean if I have to. Home is engraved in who you are and who you love.