A Random Image

Jett Superior laid this on you on || July 27, 2010 || 12:29 am

(alternately, I’m struggling to find a way to show you these things without eliciting your pity.)



This is how it was when he was so little that he didn’t have all of his words: His head cocked slightly, his eyebrows raised, everything about him careful expectation. How is it that you are so small and your desire to please me is so great? How is this even a possible thing?

filching his grandmother's coffee, 18 months

:: filching his memom’s coffee ::

He wanted to hear me praise him, to be effusive about whatever token of effort he had just shown me. “Good job, Samuel! You are a very good boy.” Job. Boy. Strung between both of those words was Sam’s hope to hear them prefaced with positivity. So before he could even articulate it to me, this child wanted me to be proud of him and his accomplishments.

This has never ceased, even over the last twelve weeks, when we have repeatedly slammed headfirst into one another’s emotions, sometimes while snarling. It is a scenario we are both unaccustomed to, and one that has left us each bewildered and wounded. We clashed, we tiptoed, we tried to reach understanding, we had five minutes of peace, we clashed. We are each covering new territory here, and it is a uniquely exhausting undertaking.

(How terrible, Samuel, to lose our innocence, to cut our teeth on one another in this fashion.)

With each day that we are closer to his leaving, I sink further into myself, wrapping  tighter around this white-hot kernel of  pain that has insinuated itself into my damn-fool chest. I have totally chumped myself, because I’ve been convinced for years that I will be fine with the moment of departure. This is because for the better part of those years I had a lock on things: I imagined him scuffing out the door with his guitar in hand, ready for people to hear his voice. I never saw his need to march coming.


:: s’alrighhhht ::

I hold to a faith that tells me not to fear. I am afraid, even so.

I know where Samuel will be, what he will be doing for at least the next six months. Still, I am afraid. I can’t push the fear aside for five-and-a-half months, like I know I ought to. I am afraid NOW and it is a Really Big Deal NOW and I cannot possibly throw enough words at this thing to articulate the imposing NOWING NOWNESS of it, the urgency with which it beckons me to buckle, to panic, to scream all my crazy out at God, at you, at everyone who dares not be as afraid and unsure as I am about this one big-tiny thing.

Because it is tiny, see. I’m just one more mother whose son is donning boots and slinging a rifle over his shoulder. There’s nothing so special or unique about that. I am just one more mother who wants this to be done,  who wants to be on the other side of this. I want to fast-forward to the part where I meet him at some airport or on some parade field somewhere, waiting to wrap my arms around him and whisper one more again, “Boy. Job.”

Oh Sam, how I will grieve the loss of  the daily I Love Yous that we have always been so careful to gift one another with.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

It’s never been unusual for music to break out in our home, whether at gatherings or just quiet moments between a couple of us. When the children were small and we had absolutely no money (nor did our friends), a bunch of us would get together on the porch of our old farmhouse, drinking my daddy’s plum wine, banging on guitars and wailing. We had a bucket of instruments for the children –fish-shaped maracas and blue bongos and One Shots and tambourines and a beautifully-pitched little glockenspiel– to dig into, and there we were: The hippie, his punk wife and three golden-haired monkeys, surrounded by slow-talking, deft-fingered mountain folk, swapping licks and stories and inside jokes.

You know those things that you impart to your kids without a conscious plan? The completely positive ones? Yeah, for me that is this:

Huge thanks to our friend Rod for whipping out his phone just as Samuel gathered steam on this one; it was our last friends-and-family gathering before Sam ships out. Over the years I’ve usually been busy singing with him, and have foolishly neglected the act of nailing down his magic with a camera. This was probably a  dereliction of parental duty –and I’m a titch sad about it–  but I am unrepentant.

I’ve gotten to fling a lot of notes into the world with my firstborn and every last one of them was precious.

12 worked it out »

  1. Deb Rox 7.27.2010

    Sucking in my breath for you, mama. It’s a whole different kind of bearing down this time, a different kind of push, a different morning sickness. xoxo

  2. Elly Lou 7.27.2010

    What a voice on that kid. Sending positive vibes. And hugs.

  3. Mr Lady 7.27.2010

    Oh GOOD LORD, Jett.

    You know, I think that maybe our only real parental duty is to force our children to see what beautiful, perfect, ethereal creatures they are. Even when they don’t want to see it.

    Looks like you did that flawlessly.

    Mom. Job.

  4. kelly 7.27.2010

    He is beautiful. You are beautiful. My heart is in my hands. I’m giving it to you, Love. Squeeze tightly and don’t be afraid of breaking it. Anything I can do to protect yours.

    My son is so different, but I get this. He will probably never sling a gun, but he is marching. Oh, how he is marching. And, I too hope to get to the other side of it.

    I love you.

  5. Bejewell 7.27.2010

    My mom once said this to me, it’s not a new concept or even a particularly creative one, but it holds true for me again and again and I’m absolutely CERTAIN it will hold true for you and your boy, as well:

    “Honey, sometimes you just have to put your head down and plow through it all until you get to a better place. Eventually, life just has a way of working itself out.”

    Hang in there, kitten.

  6. jenna 7.27.2010

    Holding my breath for you until he pops out safely on the other side.

  7. TwoBusy 7.28.2010

    My chest aches at this.

  8. leel 7.28.2010

    i don’t even know what to say. i hear you? this must be sucking for you? i think maybe This too, shall pass, my own default, might be It. But those other things too. and hugs.

  9. mommymae 8.5.2010

    my brother is in the navy. just joined 2 years ago & is married and has a baby (a boy) on the way. he has matured greatly in the last 2 years. it’s been the best thing that ever happened to him.

    that said, he’s not my baby, but my baby brother, so i can’t speak to the magnitude of this for you or for my mom.


  10. René 8.16.2010

    Oh, Jett. What a thing to have to find your way through. I will pray for you and your good boy.

  11. Fred 9.14.2010

    As a father, I can relate to the pain and fear. If it is any consolation, there are many of us here, including me, whose only job is to support the warfighter. We will do our best to return your son to you stronger for the experience.

  12. Jett Superior 9.14.2010

    Ohhhh, Fred. Your comment made me weep. I’m so blessed that you stepped into my line of sight to say these things to me this morning.

    I am so appreciative of EVERY member of our Armed Forces. There are no small jobs, none at all. Thank you very much for your own contribution.


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