Out my west window a Jack-in-the-beanstalk Sunflower bathes in moonlight. Further west, far beyond sight, my youngest son flies home.
It feels good to reread these words, to let them sink under my skin, to become absorbed by heart and mind. The time apart went fast; it’s only in the everyday that time grows still enough for questions.
My one-day retrofit back into everyday life has made me wonder how Kyle will adjust to being home, after two months in southeast Asia. From short emails received each week, I know Kyle has been thinking of home. Kyle’s initial messages focused more on his new life there; latter ones mixed thoughts, always including a note on missing family and home. At times, Kyle was torn in two, wanting to be there and here too, like when his father’s birthday rolled around mid-way through his Asian assignment.
I expect my youngest son to come home changed. He will return full of stories to share. He will carry some sadness at separating himself from daily contact with friends who became family during his absence. Then there are complicating factors Kyle will face since he will not return to his old way of life. As a new college graduate, Kyle will be sorting out next steps until he sells his first manuscript.
Up in the air, Kyle is coming down to earth — by moving back home with me and his Dad. As I pray Kyle’s landing is not bumpy, I recall Ranier Maria Rilke’s admonition to the young poet to “live the questions now.” Rilke’s advice wears well one hundred years from when he first offered it.
As is my nature, I prayed yesterday with broom and dust cloth and soap and water too, preparing Kyle’s room for his return. Going two steps further, I created space in Kyle’s closet for clothes he’ll bring home; I replaced treasured artwork with posters Kyle brought home from college. With dust removed and fresh bedding on, his room is ready for use. Kyle’s cell phone is charged and his laptop connected. But how pray, do I ready myself?
I don’t kid myself that the long hours spent creating Kyle’s physical space was my part of Kyle’s re-adjustment equation. What will be harder is to grant Kyle emotional space to sort out changes in himself, especially new views on his old home. Can I master the fine art of being available to listen without succumbing to mother-hover? Or not being invited to listen at all?
It will take time and space all around. It will take holding off some of my questions until Kyle frames his own.