Passages: n. transition from one point to another
This is a week of two important passages. The first was the wedding of my sister’s older son, Daniel, in Nashville. The second is the departure of my youngest, Wylie, for Europe and the far east.
Both are occasions for rejoicing and for promising adventure. Both leave their respective mothers with mixed feelings as the sons fly the coop and enter new life stages where Mom is increasingly irrelevant.
Nashville: Family and friends came from all over to celebrate with Daniel and Lillie. A fabulous time was had by all as the two tribes spent the weekend together getting to know each other. As happy as she is for the newlyweds, and despite the fact that they will be living only two blocks away, my sister had a full-on meltdown as she realized that little Danny was grown-up Daniel… a man whose wife will now be his closest confidant. (Of course my sister hasn’t been that for years, but when you’re going to dissolve in tears you gotta have some sort of excuse.)
Back in Vancouver: Two days after we got back it was my turn for the meltdown. My youngest child left home this afternoon. It shouldn’t be a big deal; he’s 25 for godssake. It’s not even the first time – he went off to college at 18, and until the past few months he’s hardly been back home. But since September he’s been my housemate in order to save $$ for his big trip.
He took Amtrak to Seattle, where he’ll catch a flight to Dublin and meet up with a friend from LA. They’ll bum around together for a couple of weeks then the friend goes back to work and Wylie is on his own.
So far he’s lined up a three-week stint WWOOFing (working on an organic farm in exchange for room and board) in Sweden, and then he heads to who knows where… all the way to the far east until his money runs out, he says.
What’s freaking me out is that he tossed his cell phone and will be checking in at an internet cafe only occasionally. I’m so used to having my kids at email or cellphone distance…
Just imagine what it was like when the pioneers crossed the plains and it could be months before loved ones got a letter, and even then the letter was itself months old!
As used to instant communication as I’ve become, Wylie has never known anything else, so it could be very challenging to be so out of touch with friends and family.
Now that I’ve had him around for awhile, “I’ve grown accustomed to his face”. He’s a lot of fun and can make me laugh harder than anyone I know – except his brother.
He also can be irritatingly helpful. Like when I’m struggling with some tedious and cumbersome chore, he sweeps in with a really simple way of accomplishing the task in 10% of the time. Example: last fall I was finely hand-slicing 8 quarts of green tomatoes and onions for our famous family “Spanish Pickle”. Wylie says, “hey, why don’t we use the KitchenAid slicer?” Duhhhh! – I use the machine for all sorts of other slicing and grating operations; it’s just that my mom always sliced the veggies by hand, so I just kept doing it her way.
Adjustments all around.