Saturday, July 11, 2009

One For the Books

It seems almost inconceivable to me that one year has passed, already, since Rob began his excellent adventure. It is one that initially took him to the vanquished side of the Mason-Dixon Line for four-plus months before redirecting him westward to Cheyenne's lights for a three-year hitch. Today marks the first completed year of his journey.

And I know from talking to him, from exchanging e-mails with him and from having had the chance to spend a disproportionately significant amount of time with him over the course of the past month that it has not been a seamless year. I see the beginnings of etchings in the skin of my son's face that I see in full force and effect in the reflection that gazes back at me from the bathroom mirror before sunrise every morning. And knowing from whence some of those etchings originated in me, I sense their point of origin in him.

I know where they are coming from in him and I hope, through his own superior innate strength and his knowledge of and faith in the support system he has, buttressing all that he does and all that he shall do, the process of acquiring them can be - if not put on hold altogether - then slowed down perceptibly. He is doing, presently, what it is that he is supposed to be doing and what he must do - and what he must successfully complete - to get to the next mile marker on his journey. It has not been a tremendously happy past twelve months for our clan 'neath the snow globe. We have wandered for the past year through the desert as it were, just hoping to make it to an oasis and occasionally fooled and profoundly disappointed by the appearance of a mirage on the horizon line.

But even against this tapestry of sadness, there have been hopeful signs. And when a sign of hope appears, we do what we must, which is hold fast to it and breath in as much strength as we can from it - to replenish us and keep us going until we see the next sign. And whether he realizes it or not - and if he does not it is an indictment of the parent's failings and not his own - Rob is a source of great hope for me.

We do what we can as parents to prepare our kids to go off into the world and make their own mark. But it seems no matter what we do and regardless of the excellence of their preparation, they shall encounter a day from time-to-time during which they struggle. Whether a day passes easily or it passes like a kidney stone, the focus must remain the same: win the day. Mariano Duncan was right. The object of the exercise is simple, "We play today, we win today!"

I know less about science than anyone alive - with the possible exception of President Bush (43) - but I would be willing to wager that there is a causal relationship between biting off more than one can chew and choking. On this, the very first anniversary of his life's great adventure, my son has no such concerns.

Life takes us where it takes us and as we transition from one place to another, it is wholly understandable that we long to try keep a foot in each place for as long as we can. Frustration arises when we shift our balance momentarily so that we are putting more weight on our anchor leg than on our lead leg. We may feel as if we have missed much that has gone on back at the base camp as we have been making our way further on up the road. It is an honest and earnest error to automatically equate "not being present" when something happens to "missing" it. With experience, one learns that while the two concepts are not necessarily mutually exclusive, they are not synonymous either. As long as the ones you love are here - even if you are not or cannot be - a little piece of you is here as well.

On the anniversary of the successful completion of year one of his most excellent adventure, I want simply to remind Rob that all of us here at the home office love the hell out of him and could not be prouder of him than we are. All I want - all we want - him to do is to keep on keeping on. Keep on playing only today and focusing on winning only this day as it unfolds before you. Then, after a night's sleep, get up and do it again tomorrow.

It'll come to you, Rob. In fact, it has already begun to do so. Congratulations - well done.

-AK

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