In our small town, or, because it is in New England, village, they sound a horn once at noon every day. The same horn sounds three or four times in a row if there is a fire, as much of the department is volunteer. Just as I sat down to write this, I heard the single noon horn.
The only other sound is the rain. Yesterday at this time there was a large wild turkey in the yard, but today I only spy a sopping wet squirrel.
David has been in Marfa for a week now, so It’s just me, Pete and Buddy. The lump on Buddy’s jaw was a deep infection that may precede a cancer, but after several courses of antibiotics, he seems to be his rowdy old self. Pete is really busy between school, track and guitar lessons. He will turn thirteen in a few weeks, and I can sense his teenager coming on. When I picked him up at the bus stop the other day, I inquired as to his day. After a mumbled reply, he allowed he didn’t want to talk about it. Then (I was really treading on thin ice now) I said that his sister had mentioned that he had a crush on someone, and I was wondering what her name was. He really didn’t want to talk about that either (duh, mom). So then I asked (mimicking the very thing he would say in greeting to those who telephoned him when he was younger), “so, what do you want to talk about?”
His response: “If you don’t mind, I’d really rather read.” Said politely enough, so I abandoned my efforts at conversation.
He’s a great kid, but, just as he should, he’s moving farther into his own world.
It’s a good thing. When I was diagnosed, it was just before his eighth birthday. He was so young, and though I knew that my illness was a disaster for each of my children, it was perhaps doubly so for Pete because of his tender years. My sister Bink and I had a very frank talk once about my death and it’s impact on Peter and she counseled me that there was some very real value in just trying to hang on as long as possible. Well, I have, and she was right. I can now see the actual foundations of the strong and able adult he will be, and that is hugely comforting.
I feel as if I’ve moved a bit into my own world as well; in a good way. I’m definitely a contender for late-bloomer poster child status. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic, (and I can still laugh at the irony) how my illness has really given me that nudge to get on with things. Most notably, painting. For some twenty-five years (or as long as I’ve been a parent) I have struggled with my identity as an artist. I used to joke that it was what I put down as my profession because there was really nothing else I was good at. The truth is, as I wasn’t really producing anything, actress may have been a better job description.
But now I really, truly, finally feel like an artist, as I am painting almost every single day. Better yet, When I’m not painting, I feel the way I used to feel when my children were wee babies and were sleeping. I would want them to wake up, as I missed them so.