It is not just women, but a handful of men have also connected with me, sharing their personal struggles with the concept of their little ones leaving home. And everyday it seems, I make Tom cry.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a wonderful guy I knew in high school. I don't think I have even seen him since high school. I was touched that he made an effort to read my BLOG. But getting an e-mail from someone from high school got me thinking about high school. I knew this boy, who is now all grown up, when I was about Kyle's age. As it happens, he also has a kid Kyle's age. I remember thinking that high school would never end. The hours, the days, the years felt endless. How can that be? Every minute with Kyle and Will seems to be in warped speed. The days just fly by. Eagerly and with pride they can't wait to be a little older, a little taller, a little more grown-up. And I look at them in puzzlement. Why would you want to wish your youth away? I know my parents asked me the same thing. I know that youth is wasted on the young. But aren't they having fun? Where are they in such a rush to get to?
I sat in one of my favorite cafes in Sausalito a few days ago, waiting for a friend. I had the luxury of time. As I sat, sipping the best iced coffee, I took this time to notice the people around me. I was instantly struck by a beautiful, terribly young woman, probably in her very early twenties. She had long blond hair that she fluffed and puffed regularly. She was wearing great looking pants that hit her very low on her waist, a relaxed but well thought out top that she wrestled with so it would hang just right. She had on the perfect sandals that pulled her perfect outfit together. I turned to my left and noticed two women my age who didn't seem the least bit interested in their looks. They were both beautiful women but they were not compelled to flip their hair, replace lipstick, or care if their purse matched their shoes. They were delighting in their conversation with one in another. So much so, that I caught myself staining to hear a little of their talk. This left a huge impression on me. Who would I rather be or be with? The answer was simple.
As idyllic as childhood seems, it is fraught with challenges. Are my kids trying to rush past 'the best years of their lives' so they can finally take a breath and get comfortable in their own skin? When my friend from high school knew me, was I twirling my hair, struggling with my dress, trying to fit into my own perception of myself? How I would love to go back in time and sit on the steps of old Beverly Hills High and just talk to him, comfortably, aimlessly, uncaring that I might have sweat marks under my arms or a whitehead on my chin. I wasted that time pretending to be someone I was not.
There are so many lessons to be learned. But I realize just as I am learning my lessons now, Kyle and Will need to learn theirs in their own time and space. I can't tell them to stop being self conscious, I am barely there myself. But I can remind them to stop and talk to a friend on the steps of their schools. Take the time to connect and enjoy it.
Last night Will had his head gently resting on my stomach as we watched a movie together. Kyle was in his room studying, again. Finally, Kyle was done and called me in to say goodnight. We talked about his day, the play he is directing, and he asked me about my day. When I got up to leave he asked me if he could go to a party in Mill Valley.
"We'll talk about that tomorrow," I said laughing to myself. For right now, Will and Kyle still need me.