alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Monday, September 28, 2009

pride and joy

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Peter has been home several months between the band's cruise ship gigs, bringing us humor, music, wittiness and creativity. He was his sister's Man of Honor and our man of help for the August wedding here on the farm. This baby o' mine leaves again in a few days for a third and maybe final three month gig. Last week the ship's official videographer Stephen graced the farm with boyish Vancouver sophistication (that's him on the left), and we ate a burger in our local tavern while they caught us up on their just completed documentary road trip to Chicago and Nashville. This will likely be Peter's last extended stay at home, since he hopes to move on to NY or London after the Hawaii tour, and I have the same melancholy I did in 2006 when he moved out after college and I wrote the prose poem below. There is pride and joy watching our daughter and son pursue their lives. And there is longing to remain with them always. Such is life as we accomplish just what we set out to do: help them on their way.


A Son Moves Out

Guitar picks sprout from the necks of multiple guitars lined up like timbers on the family room floor. The limbs of his body stiffen with the weight of a duffle bag and amplifier that seem to want to keep him planted here - oddly, since it's the music that's pulling him away.
A stump on the couch, I look out the door he opens, at willow fronds hooking and tossing their ochre against the snow field like fishing lines. A gust rolls through the house. I hold on to the couch. The fabric pleat flies up horizontally, the arm covers blow off. I dig my toes into the cushions.
Rooted, I stay. Like a twig, he goes.




Here is a 4 1/2-minute video of Bonnie Raitt singing my favorite of one of Peter's heroes, Stevie Ray Vaughan in a terrific version of Vaughan's "Pride and Joy."

70 comments:

Claudia said...

May your children be as happy, fulfilled and accomplished as their Mom seems to be! I tremble at the thought of having to let go one day...

Susan said...

It's so hard letting them go, isn't it? You want them near you to know they're safe and sound, but at some point you know it's healthier for everyone if they make their own life in their own space.

I love the piece you wrote. You said it all....the last line brought tears to my eyes.

Hugs to you, my friend.

ellen abbott said...

I know! I miss my little boy. My girl though has stayed close, living in the house next door with her family in the city. It is I who am leaving her with our move to the country.

Babs-beetle said...

I never had to face that problem, but I feel for you.

That lady plays a mean guitar!

Annie said...

I try to remember every day that I'll never get these precious moments back with my children. And I hope they will be happy and strong when they finally leave home.

Loring Wirbel said...

The wind has a funny way of speaking up when it's not always invited.

rauf said...

different story in India Ruth, children stay on with parents unless they get jobs abroad. Good and bad, joy and pain. Parents generally don't like sons moving out, its painful for them. Different story with daughters as they have to move out after marriage. Its a complex situation, makes life more eventful.
Children remain children to parents even when they are 50 plus.

i wish all the success with peace of mind to Peter and his band

kenju said...

You have captured the way I felt when my children moved out. So bereft, and yet happy and hopeful for them as well.

Sandy said...

hi ruth. how are you doin mate?

João said...

Pride and joy, for you both...pride and joy for a very long, long time...boats are safe in the harbour, but then again, boats are ment to go to the sea...
Great choice of music, also.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely words.
Handsome fellow.

lesleyanne said...

this post brings tears to my eyes. it must be so hard for you and papa, seeing him leave for the second time, after he's been home for so long this summer. i don't think i've lived in the same place as Pete since before i moved out, back at the Genesee house! so i am looking forward to him being in the same city, seeing him weekly, like when he was on the cruise.

hopefully one day we will live close by, and can have our Sunday afternoon get-togethers. i wish for that.

shicat said...

I know, boy do I. Both my sons are close by but I still miss them. If your son moves to New York, that's where your daughter lives,i think,at least they will both be in the same state. Great to visit and and who knows, upstate New York is a lot like Michigan.
Peace with this Ruth. xox

Bella Rum said...

If we do our job right, they leave. I remember how difficult it was when my son left for NY. That breaking away stuff isn't for sissies, that's for sure. Good luck to you and your children.

Hildegarde said...

That's a great photo. And yes, we moms have to get used to an empty nest, pfew, not easy.

Jeanie said...

This is such a touching post, Ruth. It speaks of love, melancholy, being proud of him, missing him, letting go. And the poem speaks volumes.

He's a handsome kid. Kids. They grow up all too fast, don't they? We're on the threshhold of that with the oldest -- and a couple years for the "little" one!

ds said...

Oh, Ruth, what a lovely tribute to your son. We are going visit our "twig" next weekend, and even though there still some attachment to the tree, I know what is coming (will never be ready for it, who is?). Already there is talk of studying abroad next year...

Best of luck to Peter and his band.
Thank you also for Bonnie Raitt & Stevie Vaughan.

CottageGirl said...

Love that Bonnie Raitt! What a great song ... upbeat ... swingin'!


That is the hardest part of parenting, isn't it? After all of the trials and heartaches, the love, the laughs. As a parent, you grow as a person. You learn how to give your all, your best, your heart and soul, your everything.

Then ... they leave ... to rightfully make their own way in the world, but they also take a part of you along in the process.

With that part of you, you are there whether they know it or not, in every decision they make, every joke they find funny, every tear they shed.

You have done your job and now they are doing theirs.

My thoughts are with you, my dear, during this bittersweet time.

kanmuri said...

I guess my dad feels the same, with my sister and I living in South Korea and Japan respectively. I sometimes feel bad about my choices. Right now I'm getting ready to move back to Canada, but I know I'll want to move soon again... yet, I would like to stay closer to my dad... It's a really hard situation.

NJ said...

Help them on their way. You said it perfectly. It's how I feel about my role as well.

Anet said...

Beautiful poem! Sniff...Sniff...
You have such awesome children, well prepared for the world!

That's all we as parents can hope for:)

dutchbaby said...

How bittersweet it is to see our pride and joy take another step into independence. Last month I brought my oldest to college for the first time. Sniff.

I saw Bonnie Raitt last Monday night. The Sunday night concert was rained out but she and Taj Mahal agreed to perform the following night. They gave us a fantastic all-out performance, even though only about half of the sell-out audience was able to return the next evening. Bonnie's voice sounded as great as ever and does she know her way around a guitar! All six of them.

Vagabonde said...

I read all the posts you published since I went to Canada and would like to respond to all but that would be too long. I enjoyed your new beautiful pictures and poems. I have little time right now because we came back to a flooded family room and laundry room. We are still cleaning and the suitcases are not unpacked yet. I show some of the Georgia flood on my latest post.
I understand about having your children move away as our two daughters are not very near. But I understand – my father left his native Turkey to move to France, I moved to the US from my native France and fortunately my daughters are still in the USA, so I can’t complain. I have to comment on your post about respect though. We took a cruise to Canada – the weather was perfect, the crew, the food – everything was great, but this time we found so many fellow cruisers to be very rude and lacking a lot of respect for others – breaking lines, talking too loud, being super selfish, and they were the US people – the Asians and Germans on board (quite a large amount) were very polite.

Vagabonde said...

Ruth I forgot to tell you – the restaurant Canoe in Vinings, near Atlanta which you recommended to us and where we had planned to go upon our return from Canada – well it was flooded. I placed a picture of it on my blog for you to see.

California Girl said...

Ruth: that is so poignant (the poem) and your thoughts. my sons drive me crazy when they are home and I miss them like crazy when they are gone. you've inspired me to post about my older son, out of the house now for three years. waaahh!!

Arti said...

Ruth,

Thank you for the words... often I'm lost for words when it comes to occasions like this. I can fully empathize with you, for I've just said goodbye to my third year U. son a few weeks ago. He has to spend his 20th birthday away from us at college. My consolation is that he's excited about starting his own life and cherishing new friendship over there, hundreds of miles away from home. As for the cruise ship connection, just right in-sync.

Peter said...

Tough to see the kids leave, but easier to accept if they know where they are going! ... and if the links to home remain!

My kids have left, but I'm lucky, they are so close and I see them so often.

caroldiane said...

I remember sitting in my son's room, with the tape from his posters still on the walls and the detritus that he didn't need still at my feet, on the phone to a dear friend, crying, telling her that "they never told me about this childbirth pain in Lamaze class". Part of me wishes for the days of living in a village where we all just stayed put!!

Ruth said...

Dear Claudia, thank you for that blessing.

Ruth said...

Susie, there's the head, and there's the heart. My heart will adjust as my head keeps reminding me that all is well. Thank you, always, for your support.

Ruth said...

Ellen, I'm struck with the combination of my post and yours about your mother. I am conscious of trying to be a mom in ways I longed for from mine. Different kinds of pain.

Ruth said...

Hey Babs! Bonnie is so fun to watch. All that hair, the dimples, confidence, feathers and rockin blues.

Ruth said...

Annie, "happy and strong."

Then I ask myself, and you, are we happy and strong? We have to love ourselves first so we can love them well.

Ruth said...

Loring, they call the wind maria.

Hahaha, I just can't be too serious now.

Ruth said...

rauf, the trend has changed here. More and more children move back home after college, way up from ten or twenty years ago. This generation of parents is more anxious to help. This generation of kids are the first in car seats, more protected and definitely more spoiled.

Ruth said...

Kenju, when I feel down, I create something. A photograph, a paragraph. Maybe you build a floral design, and the colors together, the shapes and patterns, nurture you.

Ruth said...

Hey there, Sandy, it's been a long time. I'm busy, very busy, and I'm adjusting.

Ruth said...

Hi, João. Your precious boys too, every day, month and year they are getting more ready for their life.

Oh said...

Oh, the picture of you "rooting" yourself to the couch as your boy goes out the door. How well I see it, how well I understand it. Yes, I read Khalil Gibran, all that about shooting an arrow and letting it fly, letting it go, and our families all go and grow and still, we feel bittersweet, wanting to go along, and thrilled when they come through the door to Home.

This is a wonderful post. And picture!!!!!

and thank you, too, for the absolutely lovely comments you left on my blog. You inspire!

Ruth said...

Thanks to you Pamela and Edward.

Ruth said...

Wesrey, I can't believe you and Peter are inching toward 30. :| One day, when you and Brian live close (hehe no pressure), you and I can have regular cooking days, craft days, well and then grandma days. :D

When Peter is there in NY, you guys will have so much fun, and when we visit and get a two-fer!

Ruth said...

Cathy, I know! I just commented to Lesley that we'll get a two-fer when they're both there. I like how you think, maybe a weekend in the Adirondacks, something I've long wanted. Thank you, my friend.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Bella, I am touched by you and others who have been in this heart place too.

I wish we could visit him in Hawaii. The air there is like no other place I think.

Ruth said...

Hilde, I love this photo too, because of the boys, and because the tavern is our local place and it's very real. It is a magnet for many people around us.

Ruth said...

Hi, Jeanie, thank you for understanding. Thinking back on all the experiences, as you did with Kevin in your post, it is quite remarkable what mother's do. Each illness and each triumph is a thread in our common cloth.

Ruth said...

DS, suddenly I hear myself telling students at work how great studying abroad is for self discovery, understanding another part of the world, etc., and yet I see it from a mom's perspective through you here. Our protective hands can only do so much, reach so far.

I actually worry nearly every time Peter drives somewhere, because I can't control the other drivers. But I would not have him stay home safe on the couch. Such is the inner life of a mother!

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, thank you for your understanding words.

As I'm thinking about this mother thing, responding to comments, I am quite taken with us - with mothers. Our hearts get punched and stretched like silly putty. Much of it we do to ourselves! But can we help it that the children we nurse through fevers, vomiting and broken hearts are embedded in every cell of our hearts? We are resilient creatures, us mothers.

Ruth said...

Kanmuri, oh, I didn't know you are moving back!

We lived in far off places too, and we moved back to Michigan when my parents were aging and getting ill. You will know what to do when you are presented with the circumstances that lie ahead.

Ruth said...

NJ, I heard someone say that raising teenagers is like trying to hold on to a wet bar of soap. It's tricky.

Ruth said...

Anet, I can say the same to you, dear woman. What you invest in your children has inspired me consistently since I've followed your blogs.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, she must be an incredible person. We heard her at the Michigan Festival many years back, and it rained. People started getting up to leave, and she said from the stage, "why leave, come on, let's stay in the rain together. . . " and she kept right on playing. Talk about heart and soul.

Ruth said...

Oh bonjour and welcome back, dear Vagabonde. What a heartache and backbreaking task you faced coming home to the flooded house. I hope it will be back to normal very soon. Right after vacation you had to shift into work mode!

My niece and her husband had decided not to celebrate her birthday (today) at Canoe this week. They had seen it flooded after Hurricane Ivan, but they wanted to try something different last weekend. They had sushi at the Mid-town Sheraton.

It pains me to hear about your American passengers on the ship. I have seen the opposite from each of the groups you mentioned, so I guess it does depend on the individuals. Each time we meet another person we represent ourselves, our family, our country and humanity. We are all one. You are me and I am you.

I was surprised to hear that your father is Turkish! We must talk more about that. Did/does he speak any Turkish with you?

I hope you can rest soon and enjoy your home again. Happy Birthday to your daughters.

Ruth said...

California Girl, we mothers are a mixed bag of emotions, aren't we? We are rich, rich, rich!

Your photos of autumn are still in my eyes . . .

Ruth said...

Arti, when we are at a loss for words, we should paint or draw, like Hopper! Even if we don't have the talent (at least I don't), we can express something in another medium. Well I like doing that with photographs.

Ruth said...

That's true, Peter, I can easily adjust to the loss when I know they are strong and happy.

I love it when you post photos of your kids and grandkids. It makes Paris even better.

Ruth said...

Maybe I should not say "easily" Peter.

Ruth said...

Caroldiane, I know! In a village or extended household we would also have aunts, uncles, grandma, great-aunts, all helping with the household tasks and raising of children, modeling life. I think of this often and feel certain we have lost our core, almost.

Ruth said...

Oh, dear, inspiration is what keeps me going in this crazy world. Inspiration is just another word for love, I think. It's like the light of the love, the spark. You do that for me too in your words and insights. You are just way too cute.

Christina said...

i love my son in this way. i love my daughter in this was, also.
such beautiful words.

Ruth said...

Christina, yes I've felt it in your words and photos.

Vagabonde said...

Thank you Ruth for coming to my blog and your nice comments. My father did not have the Turkish nationality I believe because when he immigrated to France my mother said he was an “apatride” a man without a country. He was sent to Egypt to school for security reason to live with his sister. My father was an Armenian. He passed away many years ago. I shall talk about him in some future post but I am waiting from a cousin in Egypt to give me more details on his childhood.

Oliag said...

I didn't so much mind letting my girls go...if they didn't go too far...I have been lucky that they are both within driving distance. But now our relationships are so different...they are adults who have been supporting me during some difficult times. They are grown ups and fun. It still amazes me...They are not twigs anymore...they are trees themselves...

Your poem so full of word pictures is so beautiful...as is the photo of two happy young men...

shoreacres said...

Oh, Ruth...

Your reflections about Peter's leaving are lovely and true and touching, but the tears I'm shedding are not for you and not for him, but for the sudden knowledge that the letting go never ends. Soon it will be my mother who falls like a twig, while I must remain rooted for a while longer. It's life, over and over.

The truth is that sometimes we must accomplish what we never set out to do - help them on their way.

Patricia said...

Ruth,
Did you ever hear the saying that a child is a mother's heart walking around outside of her body? This one stuck to me as I watch my almost 24-year old get up onto his feet and take on the world with all his creative forces.

Ruth said...

Dear Vagabonde, the Armenians have a sad tale. There are also many Armenians in L.A. where we lived a few years. I think they came after the big slaughter. I would be very interested to hear your father's story.

Ruth said...

Oliag, I hope one day we will all live close, especially after there are grandchildren. I have lived through taking care of my parents when they were ill. I hope our children don't have to do that for us, but we can't predict. We are all here for one another.

Ruth said...

Oh dear, Linda, a different kind of helping them on their way. It's profound, and is like to break my heart.

Ruth said...

Oh Patricia, no I had not heard it. So you have been through this too. Hello, Friend.

Ginnie said...

That's our boy, Ruth. He really does somehow belong to us all, doesn't he!

Ruth said...

You have been here with him his whole life, Boots, more than anyone outside our family of four.