I don’t hear from him enough. I certainly see him less than I want to.
People tell me it’s his age.
Frankly, I don’t want to hear it.
My son Evan turns 19 on September 5th.
I miss him. He didn’t go any where. He’s just living his own life, in his own world.
But, I miss the two year old, the six year old, the twelve year old and everything in between.
There are days when I anguish over the lack of a relationship with him. There is so much going on in our lives that we are both missing out on. He’s too young to realize that life is all too short and I’m too old to understand why.
So, from whatever moments we have together I glean all the little things that mean so much to me. Like panning for gold, I shake it all down and look for the glitter.
I was returning from a speaking engagement last week. I appeared at a sales kick off meeting for AFLAC New York. They were excellent! I mean these people love what they do and who they do it for…their clients.
I was exhausted from the energy in that room during the two hour presentation but needed to get home immediately. We were getting ready for a well deserved weekend along the New Jersey shoreline.
Halfway into the ride, I phoned to check on my messages.
I found gold.
“Oh, Hi. Dad, listen…can you hear it? I hope so. I’m standing in the ocean. Listen…We decided last minute to go to Wildwood. Uhhh, I wanted to call you. Okay. Bye.”
In the middle of his life, in the middle of his world, he stopped to call me, because, well because I love the ocean. He knew that. He thought of me. He called.
I saved the message. I listen to it a few times a day. I still have it and I plan on recording it so that I can remember the glitter of that golden moment.
I called him immediately…after I stopped crying.
I said, “Evan, I don’t if you’ll understand this. I don’t get to see you and you don’t call often. But the fact that you called me…well, the fact that you thought of me because you were standing in the ocean…that was more important to me than a hundred conversations we should have had. I love you!”
I told them we were coming to Wildwood on Sunday. Then jokingly I said, place a big mark in the sand and when I get there I’ll look for it.
On Sunday when I arrived at the beach I called him.
“Can you hear it?” I said. “I’m at the beach.”
“Did you see the mark?” He said.
I laughed. “No, I didn’t.”
“Dad, I dug a big mark in the sand at the bottom of the steps next to the boardwalk in front of the Shore Plaza Hotel,” he said.
“You’re joking, right?”
“No, I’m not. It’s a big “cross” about five feet wide.”
My heart skipped a beat.
“I’ll look for it.” Figuring there wasn’t even a chance of finding his mark, I said, “If I find it I’ll mark a big “O” next to it and you can look for it next year. I love you!”
“I love you, too.” He said.
Sure enough, faded and worn from two days of sun and wind, there next to the steps, was a big five foot mark.
It’s hard to explain, but I felt connected to him again. I could remember playing in that sand with both my sons. I could see myself standing there admiring something that they created with a little water, a lot of sand and even more imagination.
I knelt down next to it and running my hand along the lines I cried and laughed, not for him, but for myself.
Marianne took a picture.
Yes, I placed a big circle next to it and took another picture, one for my scrapbook and one for my gold collection.
Tonight, as we do every year, we celebrated three birthdays together at a local restaurant. Today was Marianne’s birthday, August 30th was my beautiful daughter-in-law’s birthday and Sunday is Evan’s.
At dinner Evan handed me a picture. It was of the cross he dug in the sand.
It might not seem like much to you, but it was like gold to me.
“Cross my heart.”
Bob Perks [email protected]