Thirty Years Ago Today

On January 15, 1991, the Gulf War was all that was on the news. I was, however, preoccupied with other things, since the previous day, I’d taken a very bumpy and snowy drive to the local hospital in Urbana, Illinois, where I’d spent the least-pleasant day and night in my life. No one wants the gory details, but in the end, the day dawned with a new human being in the world, my son, Kynan. The name means high and mighty in Welsh, or something like that.

Cute little tongue!

I have to say that this baby brought so much joy to his parents, grandparents, and friends that it was totally worth the interventions and ickiness of his birth. We had so much fun with this bright, funny, and entertaining little soul.

He started talking at nine months. We went into the back yard to look at the stars, and he pointed up and declared, “Moon!” He’s never done things the standard way. My dad said K. was revenge for how I was as a baby and toddler. I apparently talked constantly, too. Lucky for me, I was in my element gabbing away and reading to my little buddy.

Woodland exp0lorer (sorry, bad photo; it’s high on a shelf)

He was also an annoyingly early walker, but again, that was fine. He got his dad’s athletic build and skill, that’s for sure.

Raising this young man was one of the great joys of my life. I always enjoyed his friends and was impressed with his loyalty to them. If a friend crossed some line, though, they were out. His sense of right and wrong has always been very strong. His intellect is bright and very sharp; he’s fun to debate with (he was good at it in school!). He’s a gifted musician, and I always loved listening to him play his mandolin.

Stick a beard on it, and that’s him as an adult.

The other greatest joy I had was proofreading his college papers. It was awesome to see how his writing became better and better during college. By the time he as finished, he wrote as well as me and didn’t need my help (and I couldn’t really understand the philosophy stuff, as he’d passed me long ago).

I’m very proud of his work as a high-school teacher, and have worried about him a lot during the COVID-19 period. That has had to be so challenging for someone who cares so much for his students.

Here, he looks like an angel. Even though it hurts, I look at this every day.

Anyway, it’s a sad day for me on January 15, 2021. Like many people I know, I have a child who will not communicate with me. The last time I heard from him normally was two years ago today. It’s been a hard time for both of us, I think, as there have been many challenges in both our lives. I hope though, that he is happy with his family and household, and thinks of me in positive ways, at least occasionally. I know when he’s ready, he’ll get in touch again and I’ll find out what caused him to ghost me two years ago.

If you have a close relationship with your children, tell them you love them often! And if you’re estranged, hold hope and love in your heart. That’s about all I can do. I’m not looking for advice, just sharing how things are right now. My sadness today is perfectly normal, and I’ll be fine and keep coping.

My children aren’t big on gift giving. This is my treasure, which he had made for some band fundraiser in high school.

Change is always possible, and is inevitable. I’ll be here for my son whenever he wants me to be.

Uncomfortable with Silence

The fascinating UU Lent prompts continue to take me down rabbit holes of thought. Silence is the word of today. I chuckled a bit when I walked into the office this morning to see absolutely no one in my entire area of cubicles. That led to quite a bit of silence, other than the ever-present noise-canceling hum.

This place looks even more sterile and silent in black and white.

Of course, by the time the morning moved along a bit, laughing came out of meeting rooms and a couple of coworkers came in for meetings. We just happen to have a lot of people at an off-site meeting, combined with the usual people working from home. I don’t think anyone’s staying home for coronavirus reasons, at least so far.

I Abhor a Sound Vacuum

It has taken me a long time to become comfortable with silence, even though I’ve found a quiet place to meditate daily for most of my life. Then I hear my breathing, so it doesn’t feel silent.

Growing up, my family were all readers, so you’d think it would have been quiet, but they were all “readers while watching television.” There was always some kind of background noise in my life. When I went to my room I played the radio until I finally got a little stereo (it was green plastic and was from K-Mart of its equivalent). After that, I read to the sounds of the music.

Me and Camille in grad school, taking a brief pause from nonstop yakking.

I also took a long time to be comfortable in silence when in groups of people. I must have driven my teachers crazy, because I wanted to answer all the questions, I talked when I was done with my work (always quite early), and I chatted while waiting silently in line. In small groups, I talked when no one else was speaking up.

And that went on and on. I sure talked a lot. I’m not sure why I felt the need to fill the air with the sound of my own voice. I had to concentrate to get myself to stop going on. Yeah, I had reasonable stuff to say, but I never gave other people who had to think a minute any time to talk.

Yes, coworkers, I have learned to shut the heck up.

Yes, I worked on that problem a lot! I have gotten much better at being quiet. I can sit in meetings and let all the other folks talk. Sometimes I don’t even share all my brilliant contributions. I can self edit! I learned to take notes to myself when I wanted to talk. Now that I have keyboards, I type to myself. Then you get to read it, the results of my logorrhea!

One thing that helped me learn to be a better conversationalist and meeting participant was watching others. I see how people react to the colleague who never takes a breath when they talk and vigorously resists any attempts to steer the conversation a different direction or end it altogether. I don’t want that!

That’s what marriage is about. Learning to deal with your differences, because you care.

I’m still working on waiting for my spouse to respond in conversations. He generally takes a lot longer than most people before answering a question or contributing to a discussion. I find the silences that ensue really uncomfortable, and can’t ever tell if he simply doesn’t plan to respond or is working something brilliant out in his head. I’ve started counting to ten before moving the conversation on or answering for him. I don’t want to be rude, but my ideas of the intervals between conversational turns are different from his. If I were still a linguist, I’d probably research it and write a paper about that.

But Suna, Don’t You Love to Be Alone in Silence in Nature?

That’s a paraphrase of an actual question I got when discussing silence. I do, indeed, love to be alone in nature. I love taking hikes, riding the horses way out on our property, and even sitting on the back porch alone. But it’s not silent out there. Sometimes it’s pretty loud, with all the birds communicating, crickets and cicadas, frogs and toads, cattle, bees and wasps, chickens, coyotes, etc. This is the music I like to listen to best at this stage of my life.

There’s lots to hear way out here in the middle of Milam County. Sara and I love it.

I can walk along, being embraced by a breeze that feels like an actual hug, and see, smell, and hear all the life around me. If this is silence, if this is being alone…it’s great with me.