School day

It’s his first day of high school so I drove Evan, for the first time, up to the campus. He was grumpily uninterested in me, but he’s been polite these days. I let him run pretty free this summer. Run he did. And we reined him back to find him more comfortable with himself; less angry. He’s learned something. He’s accommodating us, now.

These pages (you may have noticed this) are ‘saying this about me.’ I feel (I really feel) like a tremendously creative, vital, overwhelmingly attractive presence in the world – yet I am only a mediocre, middle-class man barely glib enough to bumble through a business meeting. I sit behind my ‘raw, subjective experience,’ and I want somehow to be first and best at displaying what I perceive – to a large and adoring crowd. But I can do only this. I cannot show you any of the real stuff.

At Evan’s birth our midwife talked a bit about raising children, sharing her thoughts our parenting difficulties often coincide with those ages our kids reach when we, ourselves, got troubled or broke down. For me, of course, that was most of all of it, but middle-school was rough and it was hard on Evan, too. Hard on me. I’m a clueless parent. I had no instruction.

The other day, I read a high-brow academic’s claim that – aside from genetics – parents, in the end, have no effect on the adults their children turn out to be. This led to a wonderful moment in which I realized I’m not raising an empty mind to become what I intend – I’m helping myself to become what is possible. I know something about doing that.

I want so much to be seen (I will travel far, indeed, looking for people who might recognize me). But I don’t know how to show myself. Evan is a musical performer, and a remarkable one. He’s one of those astonishing kids I thought we only read about, aware of his purpose and practicing it, hours and hours each day; living to get up on the stage. And he gets up on the stage. It’s like watching a soul split open. It is, literally, listening to a man simply be. Loudly. In public. And he gets to do it.

So here’s that profoundly parental sensation: Evan hops down from the truck in front of the high school. I say ‘I love you’ and he says ‘yeah.’ He heads off toward the complex and I see me walking away into life, but this time able to live it. I am so, so¬† pleased to let him go.

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