My Summer Of Love
Wow, what an amazing summer it’s been.
This is the first year of Luke’s life that Leslie has had a 9-5 desk job all summer, and it has been a whole new level of parenting experience. I mean that in a good way, and I hope The Boy would agree.
True story: The other day I heard him talking to someone on the phone, telling them, “Me and my dad live downstairs, my mom lives upstairs.” I went from feeling geographically isolated in the old house to being in the catbird seat in this one.
A little background, we also bought a house this summer. A lovely split-level, neatly bifurcated above and below. And indeed, my office and The Boy’s bedroom are belowdecks, while the main living quarters and sundry whatnot are all located topside.
(I have to be deliberately vague for reasons I refuse to amplify by going into here.)
Also this summer, I flirted for two months with quitting Klonopin after umpteen years to nothing but bad results; two months of alternately not sleeping, or sleeping with the aid of various prescription and OTC meds that rendered me effectively mute. I had to choose between being a functional junkie or a rolling wreck of a sad sack wrestling with sleep deprivation and speech impediments. I decided to dance with the devil what brung me.
But during those two months, I failed to get Luke and me to the Rush concert—twice. Besides the thousands of dollars wasted, the hit to my self-confidence was brutal. The first time, I’m pretty sure I had the flu. The second time, I think I had a panic attack. This, of course, was during the period I had taken myself off my long-time anti-anxiety meds. Man, I really screwed the pooch on that one.
I did reconnect with Dave, though, so the first trip anyhow was not a complete waste.
And back home in Boise, The Boy spent a number of quality playdates with his friend Tristan (below), including the first sleepover at the new house!
I also had to oversee the moving of absolutely all of our worldly shit from one house to another while Leslie was on vacation in Southern California. Between two consecutive Thursdays, I filled a 15-foot UHaul and then a 26-foot UHaul, both crammed to the rafters. Thank God for the martial arts kids from The Boy’s school or I’d probably still be laid out.
Anyhow, throughout it all—except the week he spent in Long Beach with his mom—The Boy has been by my side. I really got to see up-close this summer the young man he is becoming, and I have to say, I am impressed. I like him; I think I’d like him even if he wasn’t my own.
There were a lot of dicey moments, especially as the drug withdrawals were having their way with me, and he was my steadfast companion, my rock. Without actually having a full handle on what was going on, he knew something was and was solicitous, even for him. He was gracious, and only concerned for me and my feelings as I fucked up one Rush concert after another. In Long Beach, while we were missing attempt #2, we found a copy of a show from a few nights earlier on YouTube, and sat together on a couch at my in-laws, in the dark, and watched the first few songs together.
And everywhere I asked him to step up, he did. And not all of his up-stepping can be traced back to bargaining for Minecraft time, either. (Although Minecraft has gotten him consistently up to five pull-ups at a stretch as of this writing.) He’s more aware of what’s going on in the family, and world around him, and is responding to the changes in his awareness with humanity and grace. And humor.
We even recorded our first couple of legitimate musical collaborations, both Johnny Cash tunes!
Tomorrow is his last day of summer vacation; he goes back to school the day after. I can’t wait, and I’m dreading it. My reptile brain is yelling at me about how much I need the alone/quiet time—which is true, oh so true. But experience suggests after the first blush of “I can go back to bed any time I want to!” passes, I’m going to be jonesing hard for the companionship of this summer. Happily, his school grants him copious bonus days off, but in past years the solitude had just gotten good on me when the extra days off started dropping.
I wish I could trap our time together the last few months in amber, to revisit and relive whenever my energy stores are depleted. I know I keep saying this, but there can’t be too many summers left like this one. I’m grateful I worked this one for everything it had to offer.
Here is a little number Luke and I played for Leslie on his birthday yesterday that didn’t go anywhere near as well in performance as it did in rehearsal, but that’s the way these things go sometimes…