I have had a minor epiphany. Because when I woke up this morning I started crying the minute I sat down with my first cup of coffee. Not just a single tear dropping onto my keyboard, but a bawling, shaking “I better put down my laptop” experience. My son, daughter-in-law and new grandson are leaving for Italy today – perhaps for good. Their reasons for moving are varied and perfectly justifiable, but it is still crushing.
My relationship with Colin, my son, has finally hit its stride after years of stumbling through my relapses, breaches of trust and disappearances. I am finally joining the party, only to find I got the date wrong. I missed it.
My grandson, Javier, is more beautiful and precious than I dared hope. He is just two months old. From this day forward, he will be Italian first, American second. I fear I will become that funny-sounding guy who drops in from time-to-time with a present and a bony knee he’ll just want to get off of.
I realize this is typical Alcoholic thinking where, even when sober, I have a tendency to catastrophize and make things about me. Of course I didn’t miss the party. It is raging and some really new and interesting guests have just arrived. Of course Javier will speak fluent English and love his grandpa, bony knee and all. But today, I am having a little trouble accepting these truths.
My epiphany? I bought the trailer a month after Javier showed up and it has proved a massive and much-needed distraction. Tom abhors a vacuum and Sparta is here to fill it. This is a good thing. But in addition to consuming my time and attention (thereby lessening my dread as today approached) my trailer project has reminded me vividly about the fragility of our attachment to time and the nature of impermanence. It has, in a way, become a metaphor for me.
To loosely cite Buddha scripture, the pleasure and joy that a man receives in his children is called a ‘soft’ fetter (shackles) that tie individuals to life and suffering, not just through eventual loss and separation of loved ones but more deeply and subtly it may act as a reminder of cyclic existence (samsara).
Life cycles, generations cycle and now a trailer is being recycled – given new life. I know in a day or two or one hundred I will fully accept this reality. But right now, this morning, as I sit attempting to write about my trailer I don’t feel too enlightened. All that comes to mind is, “my son leaves for Italy today. Sparta is a tin-fucking-can!”