Saturday, November 20, 2010
In the LobbyFall in Boston. The trees in the Boston Common are losing their color in great glorious swatches. Most of them are shimmering gold and dropping their leaves like early snow. Some are flaming out, like wild crazy 80's rock stars, completely drenched in vivid hot pinks and reds.
You don't need acid in the northeast when the trees are doing it for you.
I'm here with my oldest son, visiting colleges and prepping him for an audition to his first choice school. I am his willing accomplice as we roam the streets, dropping in at Dunkin' Donuts for sugar and caffeine reinforcements and navigating the T -- me going old school with a tear out map from the hotel tourist brochures, and him on his iPhone.
He usually wins in the navigation department, a fact that fills me with equal parts pride and chagrin. Up until I married Roger (whom I am VERY proud to say is as good with directions as I am) I was always the navigator in the family, the intrepid traveler, the one holding the map. There's always one person who has that designation in a traveling group: the guy who holds the map. And it's always been me, and now Roger or me.
But now I have this son. This... kid. Who figures out the logistics of traveling as fast as I do. Sometimes faster. He's taller than me, he holds the door open for other people, he knows the niceties of moving through the world. He hands spare change to the shivering guys standing outside the McDonald's. He handles himself so well I find myself increasingly relying on him.
It's the passing of the baton. I feel it in a dozen ways. My body is sore from the red-eye, so I let him to take both bags. I tell him to go figure out how to get from point A to point B, and I find myself not double-checking his route. I trust him.
I easily envision us in twenty or thirty years. Roger and I will officially be doddering, slow, frail. We will probably both be deferring to all three of our sons as the guys with the map. And I have to swallow the shudder of mortality that runs down my back and soothe it with immense rushes of pride. I see it daily these days: I have raised a son who can survive out in the wilds of a new city. Who can navigate a map. Who has street smarts and who is compassionate to strangers.
My worry about my son as he juggles school and applications and film shoots and theatre productions takes up a lot of my time these days. We are both under immense amounts of emotional stress and I watch us both for signs of failure, of falling apart, of letting the myriad plates come spinning off and crashing into the walls. But when I'm out here in the world with him, I get to see him as I hope he will be next year as he's off, somewhere, going to college. I get to see him exercising a reasonable amount of judgment, of being aware of his world. I feel reassured.
Like the trees, the time comes when we get to burst with color for a short short while. Then the leaves start to blow off in beautiful gusts, leaving the limbs bare for the winter.
# posted by Katherine Doughtie Nolan @ 9:00 AM
Comments: Sniff. Very lovely. You've still got a few leaves left on the tree, though. # posted by Jill from New York : 2:30 PM Post a Comment << Home