Last week my son flew up from Stanford to visit. What a gift, having a grown child. It’s so strange the way roles begin to reverse, how you have to give up your hold as parent and begin to see your child as a separate individual, with separate paths and goals and beliefs, and how likewise they have to begin to do the same, see you not as a parental figure so much as another flawed and ordinary person with a flawed and ordinary life.
We had a great time hiking and revisiting many of the places from his childhood: Flattop, Wolverine Peak, the beach, Turnagain Arm, Bird Creek Campground, Hatcher Pass. We even stopped for a slushy after a late night beach walk, because that’s what we used to do when he was younger. And of course we also got caught up on the bluffs due to a high tide, where we saw an eagle and my son climbed up so close that it began talking to him in that lovely gurgle that eagles sometimes make.
It was a fine visit, and my youngest sister came up for the last few days and we went out to Hatcher Pass to visit my oldest and dearest friend and his wife, and my son got to shoot guns and act like a guy and then we ate a huge salad from their garden and all was good and perfect with the world.
Except that the weather wasn’t perfect. It rained or was cloudy most days and on most of our hikes we were in the clouds once we reached the peaks. But no matter. There’s a beauty in standing on top of a mountain peak with your son, no one around and no sounds but the wind and your breath and all of that silence, the white film of clouds enclosing you so that it’s as if no one else exists, as if nothing else matters but that moment, that small and fragile piece of time.
It was an active week, with a lot of hiking, a lot of vertical gain, and the time went by much, much too quickly. I didn’t get much writing done but I did get in all of my runs (why is it that I always manage to squeeze in my runs but don’t always squeeze in writing time?).
I always remember memories in reference to what I was reading during those days, weeks, moments, etc.
What I read during my son’s visit is something so peculiar for me that I’m a bit hesitant to admit to it. I normally have more than one book going and one of these was Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg, which I’ve read before and which always causes me to weep, unabashedly, at the ending.
The second was The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R.Carey. I guess they made a movie out of it, which I probably won’t see. But here’s the thing: the book is about zombies and I’ve sworn, over and over, is that I would never, ever read a book about zombies (one has to have standards, right?). And yet I did just that, and I enjoyed it too, which was strange. Granted, it wasn’t a piece of literature but it did keep my interest. I could barely put it down at times.
So there you have it. My son came to visit and then my sister came to visit, and we hiked and hiked and hiked, and what I read during that time were books about a woman dying of cancer, and zombies.
Life is unusual and wonderful, isn’t it?
7 thoughts on “Visit with my son”
My son also made yearly visits to my remote cabin in Northern Alaska, and those moments will always be cherished. However now years later I am living nearby to him and our roles have reversed. In life parents care for children but near the end of the road children care for parents… if we are lucky.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, yes, I know what you mean, Pete. I find myself trying to mother my mother when I’m around her, and it kind of drives us both crazy, I think. And yet it’s unavoidable. Love is a terrible and wonderful thing. Glad you have a good son to reverse roles with, and you are right, that is the true meaning of luck (or maybe wisdom?). Take care. Summer is almost over, sigh, sigh.
Yes, it does kind of capture real life, how things get mixed up together in random order! 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love when things get mixed up but stay in order. Anyway, hope you are well and enjoying these last few days of summer (where did the summer go? I feel as if I blinked and missed it). Happy writing, and maybe meet up with you one of these days.
[…] Visit with my son – Cinthia Ritchie […]
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love everything about this post. I was just thinking this morning — as I shamefully prepare to shower and finally get dressed — that I always make time for writing but hardly ever for running. We should compare strategies! It does seem like it is one or the other. They both feel like indulgent me-time (although they shouldn’t!) and as mothers, it’s like we only get one. There is a peace to how you write about these things for which I am grateful.
Thanks so much, Rachel. I’m totally the opposite. I always (always!) find time to run. But writing? Well, it’s so easy to put it off (I’m actually putting it off right now by blogging instead, hee, hee). But I know what you mean about being a mother and how it can make the things we want feel indulgent. Why is that? Men seldom feel this way. But please: Take time to write and run this week, okay? Cheers and sending you lots of happy thoughts.