I have wrapped up my trip visiting see my son in Germany, returned to Minnesota and now I need to get back on a proper sleeping schedule. It was only 8 weeks ago when I last saw him, although when he comes home he has so many friends and relatives in Minnesota, I saw him a little in comparison to this trip.
In Germany, it was just us sharing fun times and laughs… all but one day when Christiana, a girl he is dating, joined us. She is a sweet girl. Neither overly happy nor sad. She is a beautiful 18-year-old German girl who has a great smile, but seldom smiles. Sort of what I noticed about the populace of Germany as well. No one seems overly happy. No one look worn out or tired either. When we went the many places and restaurants, they were talking like crazy but few smiles or laughs with that conversation. I am not sure I heard more than a person laugh once a day, except my son and me… That includes everywhere in the city I visited… Strange for see or me not hearing many laughs around me at all despair of a hard life? In the United States, it is easy to find that spectrum. Everywhere I saw people who were just there in life, at least as I define it. They looked healthy, very healthy. So few smiles?
Anyway, I had a hard departure from Germany. Not hard in the sense that I was detained, the flight… but emotionally… I cried… For some reason it is hard leaving my son in Germany knowing it will be at least 6 months before I see him again. Harder than all the times we parted before. Why? Maybe it was we had a great time… We had such a great time. It has been years, since he got his drivers license, that we really just hung out and had tons of fun! I think the tears were more that I see the realization; I have raised a fine young man… A man who is independent, smart, able to handle so much diversity and still be a respectful, hard working human being…
So there I was, a 46 year old male, trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears on the train on the way to the airport and on the airplane… But even though he has matured so well… I still worry about him like any parent has concerns for their child. Worried about him being so far away. Worried about his relationship with Christiana. Although, she is a wonderful person, relationships begin and end. I worry what happens if it ends? How can I console him when he is just less than 5,000 miles away? But I remember, from my first “real” relationship, it is painful.
Still to this day I recall it well and what it feels like. That first “real” love… That one you thought was the one… Sheri Fjelstad was her name and I always thought she was the one. But she did not feel the same way. (I see a lot of the same teenage love looks between Jordan and Christiana that I recalled when I was 19 and Shari was 17.) Looking back, my life is better from her breaking it off as if we would have stayed together, I may not have taken this same 27 year journey (grad school, moving several times to advance my career and such.) Hell, I guess my son would not be here… But I recall I thought life was over… What else is there I thought? So in a way, I hope he understands that this may work out or it may not, either way, he has a whole life ahead of him. I know I did not see it that way when I was 19 and Sheri said goodbye…
I recently heard a song by Brad Paisley that hits this exact issue to heart. It is called a “Letter to me”. It is about writing back to himself about all those things that seemed like the end of life when he was 17… Or what he can look forward to as a result of those decisions… Part of the song goes:
“And then I’d say I know it’s tough
When you break up after seven months
And yeah I know you really liked her and it just don’t seem fair
All I can say is pain like that is fast and it’s rare
And oh you got so much going for you going right
But I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night
She wasn’t right for you
And still you feel like there’s a knife sticking out of your back
And you’re wondering if you’ll survive
You’ll make it through this and you’ll see
You’re still around to write this letter to me”
I feel goofy that I shed some tears on this plane as I write part of this post… Thank you God for not having anyone sitting next to me to see me cry. But to love someone so much is a special place in a life. There is no stronger love, in my mind, than that of a parent and child who are close as my son and I. Basically, when his mother moved to Colorado when he was 10, it was just he and I most waking hours… We are close, at least I think so… I thought I felt this way over the years about other humans but today I know I have never had this dedication and love for any human before… I think back to my relationships and just cannot find one to cause me to have feelings this deep. Not even Shari.
Made me think if more than human relationships and love. I thought of running and exercise in general. I have always done it, know how important it is and how it makes me feel so great. Some people have a love for it, a passion, and a strong spirit… A different kind of love than that for a human. Others it is just a drug of choice. Others, it is a license to live… Others just have nothing else to do… Either way, I wish I could look forward to so many things in life, such as seeing a person, doing an activity or such, like I look forward to seeing and talking to my son. But then again, a true fathers love requires you are a father, and that I am….