Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Father's Day Love
On Saturday morning I went out onto the deck and a guy (pictured above) was sitting there in disguise. It was an uncomfortable moment as I bent down and looked at him because I knew it must be some friend that I wasn't able to recognize. When he pulled off his Groucho Marx glasses, nose, and mustache a few seconds later, I was simultaneously mortified that I hadn't instantly known him and dizzy with pleasure that it was my son Alex who had come up from San Diego. It was the furthest thing from my mind that I'd see either of the twins this year. I last saw Alex in December when we went in our unusual family constellation to Mexico - a vacation that was also his and Zac's college graduation present.
Alex has been hard to reach in recent years, his time consumed by the pleasures and routines of his extremely social lifestyle - the many friends, the always sweet and pretty girlfriend-of-the-year, the daily weightlifting, the restaurant work, and until last July - his schoolwork. When I call on the phone, he is always enroute to something or other and has to get off quickly. But he also has the knack of immediately charming his mother or me as soon as we're together with his happy, loving attention.
He definitely made this one of my favorite Father's Days ever. We went on two big hikes, ate great, and went to a zydeco concert at a nearby little nightclub.
The surprise visit was arranged by his mother, Deborah. We ended our marriage over twenty years ago, but found our way into a glorious friendship fueled by mutual admiration for the other's co-parenting skills. We always lived within a couple of miles of each other - sometimes closer - and the boys alternated whose house they went to after school/daycare every other day. (This week Deborah and I are going out to celebrate 30 years of friendship.)
The first day's hike included Alex, me, and Deborah at Hidden Villa where Alex and Zac went to a two week day camp numerous summers. Alex talked about his new job for a fast growing company that rents and sets up huge draping for conventions and concerts. He has quickly risen to a manager position that will begin in a month. He joked about his commitment challenges when it comes to girlfriends and wondered if he's ever really fallen in love. The three of us each took a stab at defining love. Alex's definition was about finding someone who does wonderful things for you. Deborah and I both spoke about how it is just as much about what you want to do for and with your partner – the ways you want to discover them on deeper and deeper levels, care for them, and build a history together. We both acknowleged that for every day that you are fully in touch with those vibrant feelings, there are many when you are just going through motions.
What I forgot to acknowlege was what was right in front of my face, perhaps obscured by its very pervasiveness or because it was camouflaged by the equivalent of a Groucho Marx nose and glasses - but there I was spilling over with more love than I could ever contain with every step along the creek and under the sun as we climbed the formidable hill together.