Thursday, February 27, 2014

Craving the Ordinary

I find myself wishing for the small, ordinary things. For the chance to see my son coming toward me in the airport after time away. To eat a simple meal together. To hear about his day or his trip or his opinion of something, anything. To see him going out with friends, roughing up the dog, or making fun of me with his brother. To go on a family vacation, anywhere, just for a weekend. To kiss the top of his head. What I would give to wind back the clock to relive those ordinary moments.

My mother raised me to strive for the extraordinary, and I passed that on to my kids. It wasn’t until middle age that I began to appreciate the simple things of life, but I neglected to pass that on. Noah felt pressured to be extraordinary and have an extraordinary life. He didn’t realize that he would be loved, regardless of accomplishments. We didn’t realize that the magnitude of his anguish was extraordinary and that his most extraordinary act would be one of self-destruction. That the most distinctive thing about our family life would be this tragedy. I would trade that in for ordinariness anytime.

I hear co-workers talk about having their child home for dinner and watching TV together, or going to a ball game, or taking the dog to the park. I see parents with their young adult children, shopping, eating out, going to a movie. I want to stop them, grab them and say: You are so lucky. You get to sit down to spaghetti with your child, even if they are glum or you are arguing. Cherish that time.

I’m getting used to the crushing fact that we will never experience a graduation or wedding or grandchildren with Noah--that the only anniversary we will share with him is the anniversary of his death. But I can’t believe we will be forever deprived even of those little moments of family life that everyone takes for granted.

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