Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Perfect Foursome

It has been 9 years since this has happened. While it is an occasion that has been little noticed by the rest of the world, and has no impact on the daily lives of those of you reading this, it is of monumental import to me. If you had asked me 9 years ago of the possibility of this day coming to pass, the words remote and non-existent would have been the most likely ones I would have uttered. As of last evening, and at least for the next several months, both of our children will be living at home.

I had always told myself, and anyone who would listen, that I did not care where my children ended up residing. If they were happy and healthy, then whatever suited them was perfectly fine with me. Intellectually, that is exactly what I believe. We all want our children to be living productive and well adjusted existences. Where this happens is much less important then the fact that it occurs..

We live in an age where communication through the internet, by cell phones and by a myriad of other methods means we can be in touch with others at a moment's notice. Air travel affords us the opportunity to feel like we are not as far apart as the miles would suggest. The world is a smaller place and there is an intimacy to long distance relationships that grows stronger with each technological advance.

Alex has been living out in Utah for the last 6 months. We went out to visit her on 3 occasions.She was fine, well adjusted, and enjoying an unusual and remarkable time in her life. It was great visiting with her and always a little sad for me when we parted. Yet, I never felt like it was anything but the right place for Alex to be spending her time.

When she went out to Utah, she had no specific plans for her return to the East Coast. We spoke about the possibility of her coming back for graduate school, but it was just a discussion, and by no means a certainty. As events unfolded, the next chapter of her life will take place in NY, beginning in the fall, as she starts a Masters program in the city.

So, in the middle of last week, Joanne boarded a plane and headed out to Park City. Alex had finished her job at Deer Valley ski school. The day after Jo's arrival in Utah, she and Alex began a cross country journey in the same Subaru Forester that had taken Richie across the country to Berkeley in 2003 for his Master's program. That car had also been responsible for bringing Richie back to NJ after an illness prevented him from completing his program. Richie remains with us and still struggles to regain his energy and strength.

The Forester had travelled back out West with Alex this fall, and was now ready for its second long journey back to NJ. Alex and Jo, 2 women on a mission, were able to navigate the 2100 mile trip in 3 days. Last evening, at about 8:30, we were reunited as a family living under one roof.

All my intellectualizing the benefits of my children being on their own went out the window the moment we were once more a foursome. I know I should be at a point in my life where I find the pleasures of grandparenting to be more appropriate then being a reconstituted parent. But I have always been and will always be, one who finds the most joy in my life in times I share with my children and my wife beside me. I was the type of overindulgent parent who brought breakfast up to my children in bed before they went off to school in the mornings ( I know, I know). I always sent them off on their daily adventures in life with 'have a good day and a fun day'. When the kids went off to college and graduate school, that phrase was how all my communications with them ended.

With both Richie and Alex safely tucked in their beds last night, I stopped to think about the strange places life takes us. I do not know what tomorrow may bring, but I do know one thing for certain. If my kids ask, I will still bring them breakfast in bed, and I will still use my sign off to them as I head to my day at work. Welcome home Alex. Thanks for giving Jo and me the privilege of taking care of both of our children again. It is a good day and a fun day.

No comments: