Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Weeping Willies

Alexander Donovan (aka "Zan") - my 21-year old son

I've got the weepies tonight. It's not PMS. It's a Sunday night. My daughter is in Dallas with her very sweet friend (you can add the prefix "boy" to that, I think), David. He drove back to SMU and she wanted to do the road trip with him. She flies home tomorrow night. At least I have a few more days with her before she goes back to Madison. Lee is back in LA working. And, Zan, my firstborn, flew "home" to DC today. That pretty much covers the country doesn't it? I've spent most of the day in my flannel pajama bottoms with a cashmere sweater trying to take the icy chill out of my bones. The sky remains gray. I have stopped counting the days since I last took out my sunglasses. I worked on taxes.

After dinner, while cleaning up, I put on my IPOD and clicked on Van Morrison and the Chieftans singing "Shenendoah" and before you know it I am weeping into the dish water. Those American folk songs done with an Irish twist send me over the edge every time.

Mostly, I am thinking about Zan. He's 21. He's a Senior at George Washington University. He's the sweetest darn kid I ever knew. Completely low maintenance. Only grounded once in his life when he was five - for going with a friend into another kid's home down the street without asking me - I didn't know them. The rule was you had to ask. So I had to ground him for a day. That was it. Not another lost night of sleep.

And here he is now, looking for a real job, a grown up job, a place to call home that probably isn't Minneapolis. It'll be a city where they have public transportation because he likes not having a car. Imagine that.

On Christmas Eve, we all got together at my parent's home in Northfield, MN - a 50-minute drive from Minneapolis. We got home about 10:00 p.m. On the way home, Zan and Izzy (his 18-year old sister) talked about going to the midnight service at our church, St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral. Zan, Izzy, and I had gone every year since I can remember. It is late, it is exquisite, ending with all the lights out except for the candles held by the 1000 or so people in the church singing Silent Night. I get weepy there too. does it to me.

I was so tired this year and have loosened my ties with the church - more by inattention than intention - I said I simply couldn't go this year. "Are you bummed?" I asked.

"It's okay, Mom. Izzy, you wanna' go?" Zan said.

"You'd go on your own?" I asked.

"Yeah. I don't have that many rituals. And that's a good one. I mean if I was out of town, it wouldn't be a big deal. But I'm here. I want to keep up the ritual."

There was nothing to say that didn't catch in my throat. Except that I saw that I had done something right. Maybe that is why I am crying tonight.

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