Originally Posted by hanesian Disclosure & Fair Warning
: this post has nothing to do with HT or mold, and is more than a bit nostalgic and sentimental, so feel free to skip ahead to the next post where the build story and sarcasm will resume in earnest. With credit (and apologies) to Bill Bryson.
While all this destruction and mold remediation and rebuilding and furnace replacing was going on - and serving as a wonderful distraction I might add - life happened, so to speak, as it so often does.
It was a simple thing that brought this home to me. One of my kids - the youngest - was reveling in the unseasonably tropical (i.e. above freezing) temperatures and, feeling a bit giddy, asked pleadingly, with her best puppy eyes, if I would "please, please, pretty please Daddy
" go for a walk around the block with her. I almost said no, when it occurred to me: my baby would never again be exactly "13 and a quarter," and before long she will not even want to be seen in public with me anymore, so I better seize the moment while I could. I've already let so many of them slip by.
To be honest what really brought this realization home to me was something that had been weighing on my mind ever since our son abruptly announced that he was bored with college and had enlisted. Having him go away to college was one thing, but this was something else entirely.
Before we knew it he was gone. First to boot camp, then to Marine field training, and finally, inevitably, to the Middle East and the war zone.
Meanwhile, his mother and I are left to feel his absence and to plumb the depths of the full meaning of the word 'worry,' especially in the dead of night or when a car we don't recognize drives into our driveway.
I hadn't really expected it to be like this, to be honest, because for a few years before he left he wasn't really here
, if you know what I mean, and even on the rare occasions that he was physically living here he still wasn't really here in any meaningful sense, so much as he seemed to just sort of appear every now and again to empty out the frig, remind me how old and clueless I was, and ask if he could use the car.
Now that he is gone I can't tell you how much I miss having him complain that we never have anything good to eat ("all we have are ingredients - where's the food?
!") or taunt me with some of his favorite Monty Python lines ("Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelled of ELDERBERRIES
!!") And I see now I had it all wrong, and that even when he wasn't here, he really was here. If you know what I mean. And now he's not here at all.
On the rare occasions when we get to speak with him now that he is "in the sandbox" he still manages to defy understanding, like when we told him that we were renovating the entire basement, including his room, so that it would be much nicer (and less moldy). Instead of being excited, as I thought he would be, he was upset. I guess I didn't fully appreciated how unsettling it is to have your life turned upside down, with nothing familiar and stable anywhere except for his memory of home, so the thought of his room also being turned upside down as well didn't thrill him. I know he'll love it when - please, God - he actually comes home, but in the meantime it doesn't help a father's nerves to think he has unintentionally added more baggage to a son's already heavy load.
I was contemplating this - again - just the other day as I was moving some of his stuff from one part of the basement to another and I happened upon his old baby blanket and it started me thinking about all the forgotten yesterdays it represents. The really tough part, I suppose, is accepting not just that he is not here, or even that is is 'over there', but that the boy he was is gone forever.
I would give anything to have him them both back, safe and sound. But life doesn't work that way. Kids grow up, and move away and as much as we might want to, we can't always protect them or watch over them. And it all happens much quicker than you might think. "I don't remember growing older. When did they?"
I know this has nothing whatsoever to do with home theaters or construction, but it has a lot to do with home and loved ones and, after all, you can't really have a home theater without a home, and a house is never more a home than when we share it with those we love.
Enough rambling. My apologies, but I did warn you, after all. Please remember to say a prayer for all the brave young men and women serving our country, especially those in harm's way. They deserve that much from us anyway, and more. So very much more.
And those of you with young kids still at home ... hold them close and share your time with them while you can, even when they drive you to the edge of your sanity, or beyond. They grow up so quickly and are gone, sometimes to very distant and dangerous places. And there are no do-overs.
Home Theaters will wait for us. Our important little projects will wait. Our kids won't. They grow up in the blink of an eye and are gone out of our lives and into their own.
And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go for a walk around the block with a very special young lady.