The gravel and dirt crunch below our feet like old snow in March. A cloud of vapor hovers over us, as our warm breath gathers together for one last stand against the cold. It is dawn, and the sun hasn’t beat the moon yet, or wiped away the dark blue of early morning. It’s a quiet walk up hill, only the sound of our heavy breathing and crunching beneath our feet as we make our way to the top of a local landmark named Saddle Rock. Myself, and two of my oldest sons are making this trip for the last time, in a very long time. They have both been taller than me for quite some time now, and hover a few inches over me on either side. Both of their voices deep and confident. Their eyes bright with adventure and optimism, but also with concern and thought. Two young men, chartering their own trip into the next part of their lives, far beyond the blanket tents, and cardboard spaceships that were so common just a few breaths ago.
I wasn’t really ready for it. I don’t think that there is any way to be. Being so focused on just surviving, on making it through another day, doesn’t leave time to prepare for the actuality of them moving on. It’s a Kaleidoscope of emotions, as we tromp on the trails, and hills that I used carry them up. They would jump on my back, climb up onto my shoulders, and beg for one more ride as we got closer to the top. Hours, and hours we could spend there, climbing rocks and exploring trails, then they would race me down to the bottom, and of course, they would always win. A kaleidoscope of emotions that I find myself unable to describe.
All that runs through my head is this: What an amazing life. What a glorious, and truly brilliant journey. I used to think that being a parent meant to prepare small human beings to be bigger, better, human beings. To make sure that they had as many tools as possible to succeed in this life. I was wrong. Yes, those things are important, but really anyone can teach them that. Hell, I think most times they teach themselves most of that shit anyway. I believe it is about sharing as many experiences with them as possible. Having memories, upon memories, adventure, upon adventure with them. Having a picture tin of moments archived safely in those brilliant minds that they can rely on to get them through this sometimes very scary place. Like layers upon layers of armor, sewn tightly into their souls. Because when it is all said and done, what is it that we really have to get us out of the darkness of the rabbit holes we can find ourselves in expectantly, but our memories of loved ones, and the strength that they have given us to make it back to better times.
I am beyond proud of these young men, and have so much joy because of them. Go be Terminators today, protect those you love, and build the best armor you can.
Hard times make hard people. Live Uncommon.
- November 14, 2016
- UCB STAFF