Thursday, June 22, 2006

inching away

Zac doesn't live in our house anymore.

He's moved out. Gone. Shoved every belonging he had in a box or a bag and hit the road.

Of course, that road was a short one. He only moved to my office behind the house. And as it's a mere twenty feet away, I haven't yet shed a tear.

But still, I'm sad. My son is seventeen, and salivating for independence. For now, he's satisfied to have a room apart from the house. He loves the cedar-lined ceiling of my former retreat space. He likes the light I picked out at Ikea--the one I used to have angled down at my writing desk. He's okay with the expanse of hunter green wall paper along the tops of the walls and the coordinating green and burgandy plaid along the bottoms. He's even promised to not poke pinholes through the wall paper.

But even that promise makes me sad. It implies that one day -- probably long before I'm ready for it -- he'll repack all those posters, trophies, tennis shoes and basketball paraphernalia and vacate this space again. I'll come into an empty room and stare at my pristine, pinhole-less wall paper and wish he'd left a mark.

Yesterday, when he was off at basketball camp and I had the whole 13 acres of property to myself, I went out to his new room and sat on the edge of his bed. I absorbed the smell that only a seventeen-year old boy could imbue into the fibers of a place (and, remarkably, in less than 24 hours), and then, because I wanted to know what it was like for him to sleep in his new room, I curled up on his bed. And the feeling that came over me as I settled against his comforter was one of complete, utter peace. The tension I'd been carrying slipped away. I felt my face relax, the frown and furrows gone. Outside his window, beyond the burgandy curtains I hung last year when the place was mine, the green leaves of a distant maple splayed against a vivid blue sky. I laid for a long time watching those leaves and letting the silence surround and soothe me.

They can't stay little forever. Eventually, I'll have to let him go. But when that day comes, I'll pray he'll carry a measure of peace with him on his travels. I'll pray, too, that wherever those travels take him, he'll remember this place ... where he's loved and missed.

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8 Comment:

At 6/22/2006 6:56 PM, Blogger Jimmy had this to say ...

Shannon, your writing brought back such memories of when I first left home. My first journey at leaving was for college, some 250 miles away from home. I'm not sure if the parting was more difficult for my parents or for me. All I know is that it was a tough time for the first few weeks until I made new friends and got involved in a local church. Then after graduation, I moved back home for a season as I settled into a career and even though I was now an adult, it was great to begin to interact with my parents as an adult, yet still a child. Even now, I have always stayed within a mile of my parents, not because of the apron strings being tight, but because I love them and want to be near them. The room where I grew up did not have wallpaper to stick pins in, but there were plenty of pushpin holes in the walls and bits of paint pulled loose from the tape holding up posters and such. After reading your thoughts, I remember that even though my mom would 'complain' about the holes and chips, they were not in any hurry to repair them. Perhaps that was still their bit of me still in their home. I think you'd feel the same about Zac's pinholes (if he were to dare).
I have no doubt that from the love we all read about between you, Dave and your children that they will always be close by, perhaps not physically but certainly in the presence of God and in your hearts and long distance telephone bills.
Thanks for your transparency today, Shannon. Sorry to ramble on for so long.

At 6/23/2006 11:31 AM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

You can come ramble here anytime you like, Jimmy. :) And thanks for your transparency. It comforts me to hear about how close you still are with your parents.

And about the pinholes ... I should clarify that I gave Zac permission to poke anything he wanted to in the one wall which is all cedar-lined (the boards came from a school that had been remodeled), but I asked that he not ruin the wallpaper. You should have SEEN how many pinholes I had to putty in his old room! I don't know how one human could make so many holes.

So how goes the book? Are you nearing the end?

At 6/23/2006 2:06 PM, Blogger whaaaat! had this to say ...

So nice to hear such loving thoughts from a parent. I have sadly heard the opposite from some parents recently who have indicated that they will rejoice and can't wait until their "troubled" teen moves out. I am certain that we will have similar thoughts and emotions as you when our little ones are grown.

At 6/24/2006 8:20 AM, Anonymous Lauren had this to say ...

Speaking as a mom of a 16 & 1/2 year old, WAAAAAAAAAAA! I watch him grow and move toward manhood and I am thrilled for him, his future and that God let me raise him for a time. I am also so sad that the time couldn't have been longer, say another twenty years. Thanks for summing it up better than I ever could.

At 6/25/2006 11:44 AM, Blogger C. H. Green had this to say ...

I know my day is coming. Just last night my six year old asked to sleep in the back of his daddy's truck, because his daddy bought a new camper topper. LOL. I said no of course. Not just yet. I enjoy your blog; it brightened my day.

At 6/27/2006 4:26 PM, Anonymous Vicki had this to say ...

Oh, I can relate so much to this. My three are now 24, 26, and 32 (as of today). They're busy starting families of their own now--it's almost weird. But a joy. I remember walking through their rooms after they each left home, aching for the "good ol' days" yet knowing I have to release them to the God and whatever future lays in store. The blessing now is knowing they still want to come home...even after all this time. Zac will always return to the love he has in you.

Thanks for your beautiful heartfelt thoughts here.

At 6/29/2006 2:41 PM, Anonymous Gina Marie had this to say ...

Oh, I feel your pain. It still makes me tear up when I think of my firstborn son leaving for his first year of college,(last fall) even though he is less than an hour away, sometimes I miss him terribly. I wasn't quite ready to see him grow up. God has wonderful plans for this young man and his dad and I are so proud! Trust in the Lord and lean on Him during these times, He will help you with the transitions your children go through and in Zac's case, from boyhood into manhood. Love and hugs, G.

At 7/10/2006 9:58 PM, Blogger Macromoments had this to say ...

Shannon, I remember writing a poem when my firstborn was only six weeks old--something syrupy about the passing of time. Now he's 33.

Zach will boomerang home frequently. And in the meantime, what a great way to ease into that gentle break. You're a special mom to loan him your office, too. It sounds beautiful.


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