I was heading out the door this evening to the drug store to get a few items our family needed. As I went to gather my purse I heard my 17 year old son playing passionate piano in the living room. Although the French doors were closed, the rhythm vibrated through the wall and I closed my eyes and savored the sound. He went from a jazzy to mellow, modern to classical …. so I pondered, paused, partook of the fleeting moment.
How do I know it was fleeting?
I know it was fleeting because it seemed like just yesterday that another son, four years older, was just about to leave for college. It was his last night home, about the same time of year. I had heard him strumming on his guitar in the basement, sitting on top of some boxes he was going to take with him. He sounded so sure, so casual. He had hummed softly and I had stopped to listen.
Many nights he had done this. That night, however, I had paused deliberately, and every year of his life flashed back in my mind. . .bringing him home in his little ducky sleeper, walking the floors with him night after night and getting up every hour (He was born early and not, as they say, “organized” as an infant. ) I remembered him telling me “you can go home now” as I walked him up to the church preschool activities when he was just four. Then I remembered him making a fire alarm all by himself in fifth grade, with no help but a manual he read himself. Other thoughts flooded my mind. I recalled his first football practice, his first breakaway run, the touchdown he made in a game when his quarterback brother tossed him the ball. His high school graduation party where he gently lifted his baby sister in his arms to soothe her during the commotion of happy festivities, pressing his face to her little one and saying, “Shhhhh, It’s alright.”
I had told myself he was only leaving for awhile. That’ he’d be home over breaks, and then summer. And he was. For a few breaks and a summer. But then there was this ‘really cool’ opportunity abroad. He could study in Rome! He’d earned a grant and …whoosh. He was gone. Breaks were short and jam-packed, a whirlwind. Then it was the next summer, and an internship 2,000 miles away. Now he lives 2,000 miles away, pursuing his dream career. Yes, it’s good, but different. I’m glad I took the time to pay attention when he was growing up and lived here.
So tonight I sat and secretly listened to another son, and drank in another precious time. Moments of his childhood flashed in my mind- him sneaking some home-made apple pie to eat under the table, begging for a big yellow machine riding toy for his birthday, earning a blue ribbon on swim team when he was eight, and nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve. Performing as the Cat in the Hat in high school.
I took in the tunes of a talented boy, or should I say young man, expressing his heart. He was for now here, in my presence, this home his home. The drug store could wait. Daily demands diminished as once again I took in…one fleeting moment. And it was good.
Thank you, God.