Children, Land O'Lakes

Long Distance Birthday

Dear Snowman,

Today is your birthday, the first we have ever spent apart. Seventeen years ago, in a hospital decorated for Halloween, you arrived in a hurry and you have been determined ever since. I stand amazed at your commitment to your instrument, your adherence to your principles, your propensity for maturity and your dry sense of humor.

Here at home, we miss you.

Just as was true when your brother left for college, we are
re-organizing ourselves, exploring new ways of being family. For the
past six weeks, your sister and I have been all there is, and the house
feels large and quiet, except when Sam is barking at a passing
neighbor. The Princess fills your role of letting the dogs out in the
afternoon and making sure their water dish is full. I must say she is no help with the trash and the recycling, but she has been good company.

I remember wondering how we would manage without you, on a practical level, but what I miss most is your presence, not your usefulness.

You know it was hard for me to wrap my head around letting you go. But now, when we talk on the phone, and you tell me all you are doing at Land O’Lakes, when you describe how hard you are working and how happy it makes you, I am glad, even joyful, that it was possible for you to go, even though it is so far away from us.

I understand what it is to be called to something you love, how porous are the boundaries between "work" and "bliss."

I am proud to be your mother.

And I am counting the days until you get home for Thanksgiving.

(19, in case you’re wondering.)


14 thoughts on “Long Distance Birthday”

  1. Happy birthday, Snowman! And happy birthing day, Songbird!
    Where did I first read the quote, “Having a child is agreeing to have your heart walk around outside your body”? How true, how true.

  2. Oh – happy birthday Snowman and hugs to you Songbird. It is so strange when one is apart from children on their birthdays. Last year I was in India for HG’s 17th and felt really peculiar almost physical ache all day, even though I was doing wonderful and exciting things. Guess it’s that elastic stetching…x

  3. Happy Birthday, Snowman!
    Beautiful, Songbird. I love this line:
    I understand what it is to be called to something you love, how porous are the boundaries between “work” and “bliss.” – so true.

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