Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Looking back, looking forward

I have been in NY state since July 4, staying with my parents on an extended time away from the city. Owen is in a morning day camp and I am starting to dig into my sabbatical project. Chaut.au.qua is a kind of lecture/performance/artistic venue and because of this, Owen's day camp consists of visits from the resident ballet dancers, opera singers, and concert violinists. I'm excited that he's having the experience--so different from the typical emphasis of nursery school--even though he probably doesn't realize how unique it is. I hope to come back every year to give him some continuity with this place. Many people have been coming every summer all their lives. Maybe he'll have friends for a lifetime. This is something I wish I had--a deeper connection to the people here. Maybe Owen will have it instead.

I think about that alot. I want Owen to have deep connections, lifelong friends, and so many things that I feel in some ways I am lacking myself. I have had many close friends throughout my life, from every stage, but I've been crap at keeping up with people and I've moved so much that I am basically out of touch with many of them. My closest friends still live in the Bay Area, and I see them when I can. But I've lost touch entirely with my childhood friends and it saddens me sometimes. I wish I had prioritized friendships and relationships over career in my late 20s and 30s. But I didn't, and I don't think I would've even if I'd known then what I know now. Nowadays, it's so much more difficult to find and keep close friends--at this age, with all of our busy lives. I often feel very alone and bereft of friends.

About a year ago, I found out about the death of a close friend from college. The crazy thing is, I found out about it SIX YEARS AFTER HE DIED. This is how out of touch I am with old friends.

Ok, back up. He was not just a friend, but the most intense and real love of my life. We were together for about 4 years, including the last two years of college, but he was older than me and he left our college town. He was a total drifter and we eventually moved on because we were never in the same place. When he met the woman he would eventually marry, we fell out of touch completely. What we had was very special and intense, and I can see how even retaining a friendship with me would have been difficult while pursuing a new relationship. Anyway. He died. Of melanoma. And I found out because I was doing genealogical research on An.ces.try.com and I searched for his name because he had never showed up ANYWHERE, like Facebook or anything, and I was always wondering WHERE IS HE?? And there appeared his obituary. From six years ago. You can imagine how I felt at that moment. He had been in the ground for six years.

I found some pictures of us that my parents have here and it makes me long for those days of freedom and happiness and joy and friendship and bonds that you had in college. I miss him, and I miss those days. He was a soul mate; he was so full of life, more than anyone I've ever known. So his death is particularly hard to come to terms with.

This sounds really strange but part of me thinks that he has been watching over me. I don't know why but the way that Owen arrived in my life---it was so meant to be and so full of luck---I can't help but think about it.

I cry about it even now. I wish I could have said goodbye.

Where am I going with this? I guess I feel a bit lonely, and sad. I am so lucky to have my little boy, who makes me feel joy every day of my life. I want him to have a life full of love and enduring, meaningful relationships. If there is one thing I hope I can do as a parent it will be to foster that, and to impress upon him that success in life is not defined by money but by love, friendship, and deep connections.

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