Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Soft Place to Land

Sometimes in life there comes a time when everyone gets a little too strung out. I've never been able to juggle, not even 1 ball at a time, but it seems lately that all I do is juggle all the aspects of my life. It's amazing that a guy like me who has never been accused of being smart can keep so many balls in the air at once. It's also very tiring. The problem with juggling is that the balls never go anywhere. Just up and around and then back down just to be tossed up again. There is no forward progress. Just up and around and back down. You might be successful in keeping them off the ground but you aren't taking them anywhere.

I suppose that's OK as long as you remain so caught up in the act of juggling that you don't have time to notice that you're standing still. But when you do get a moment to ponder this fact it is very depressing. Looking back and seeing that you were so busy doing that you didn't notice not getting anywhere is a sobering discovery.

I came home last week for my father's retirement party. It was a surprise for him, he didn't even think anyone was going to throw him a party at all, let along have all his friends and family there. He taught for 36 years in the same school district. 36 years! He started 6 months after I was born and is now retired. It was great to surprise him but I'm not sure anything could be grand enough to put an exclamation point on 36 years of teaching. The party just seemed a little too insignificant compared to that. He was happy though and that's all that mattered. After the party, I went back to his house and we drank beer, ate potato chips, and listened to fiddle music on his front porch. I actually found that even much more significant than the party. Just a father and son sitting in the dark bonding after 36 years.

Most of the time I've been here I've stayed with my mom. Her house is so inviting and just embodies her. You can look at this house and know my mother lives in it. It's a wonderful place to be and I really needed that. I arrived late on Thursday and she had dinner ready for me. She was so excited to see me and all she really wanted to do was just have me here. No expectations, no plans, just sit and watch TV together like we used to when I was younger. I forgot how much I missed that.

Today my mother and I drove to Wheeling W-by-God-V for a 20K race. She did the 5K walk and I ran the 20K. We had a great time and we didn't know a soul up there! Just the 2 of us. I heard her yelling for me when I started and then again when I came across the finish line. Afterwards we got coffee and people-watched for awhile before heading home for pizza and naps. It was the perfect way to cap off this trip. I'll write about the race later.

So I woke up a little on this trip. I noticed my juggling for the first time in a long while. I don't know that I'll be able to change much about how I live my life after this revelation, but it's nice to know that when you want to stop juggling or the balls begin to fall out of the air that you have a soft place for them to land.

Thanks for listening


Reese said...

Sounds like a nice trip. Fiddle music? While the guy on my page has a "fiddle" I doubt it will be your type of "fiddle" music.
Cherish the moments. Both above you and below you.

Southbay Girl said...

made me cry! I'm so glad you had a wonderful trip back home!!!

RBR said...

Nice homage. You are a good egg.

Middle-of-the-Pack Girl said...

I don't want this to come out the wrong way but listening to you talk about your mom, made me think about my grandmother and how when I would come home, all she cared about was spending time with me. We didn't have to do anything, just watching TV was fine, as long as we were doing it together.

Thanks Willie. IMHO, this was one of your best posts ever, and believe me, it had a lot of competition. I'm sorry I've not been able to meet you in person.


Calyx Meredith said...

I'm all for soft landings - glad you have some. Sounds like a nice, gentle job of soul searching and soothing. Your parents are lucky to get a great guy like you to call son. Peace.

JenZen said...

What an awesome post Willie!! Thanks for the insight and reminder to reflect. Nicely said.

cath said...

Hi Willie. sounds like a great trip..a sort of awakening huh? love those moments...