A Taste of My Future
by Jay Fadden
I got a taste of the future these past few days, and it was an eye opener! As many of you know, my daughter Amelia is away at college and my son James is a busy junior in high school, so I do not see either one of them as much as I would like. That has left Ethan and me. Ethan is in the sixth grade and is by my side constantly. We do almost everything together. We go to sporting events, movies, out walking, and so much more each and every day. When Ethan is not by my side, he usually is close by. It is not unusual for me to hear him talking to himself in a room next to me as he plays. He will make up voices of the characters of the action figures he is playing with. If I happen to walk by his room, he will quickly ask where I am going and then ask if he can join me. I must admit that there have been times when I have tried to sneak by his room so that I could just relax.
I have written in the past that while this can get overwhelming, I will miss the day when he grows older and this stage in his life ends. Well, I am now getting a taste of what that might be like.
This week, Ethan is away with his sixth grade class at nature’s classroom. They travel to a camp for a week to learn about nature. It is a wonderful experience that both Amelia and James loved. Before Ethan left, he told me he was nervous. I assured him that he was going to have a great time, and he said he was nervous because he was not going to see me. WOW! Monday arrived and off he went on the bus for five days away at camp.
There is a ritual that happens at my house. Every day when I get home, Ethan always runs to greet me when I walk through the door. He has a big smile and is laughing, filled with energy. He always asks me the same question before I can even put anything down: “What are we doing today?”
This past Monday, I walked in and the house was silent. No sounds of feet galloping down the stairs or that laugh. There was nothing but silence. I walked in and went upstairs, and as I walked past his room, the toys were neatly placed on his shelves and the bed made. This was not usual. His room usually looks like a cyclone just hit it, but now it was neat and quiet. All I could hear was my own footsteps, and I did not like it.
Monday turned into Tuesday, and of course that was Halloween. For 18 years, Shirley and I have been taking one or more of our kids out on Halloween. They would run door to door as Shirley and I stood in the street. It was fun to watch them have so much enjoyment. This year would be different. We had no kids to bring out. So I looked at Shirley and said, “Let’s just walk around the neighborhood,” which we did. It was not the same.
I got home and sat at the breakfast bar and soaked in the silence. I looked around and saw the stillness. It became real that soon this would be my new way of life.
It is now Wednesday, and that means I have 3 more days until Ethan returns home. I can’t wait for Friday. I find myself counting the hours for my boys return and the return of the noise and havoc.
Life can be a challenge. Sometimes we are in such a rush to get to the next stage in our life that we can miss out on the opportunities right in front of us. I have learned that days quickly turn into months and months into years, and I am going to now make each day special. Each day is the new best day! My first question to Ethan when I see him is going to be, “What are we doing today?”