Our last night in Park City. I’m sitting up alone in the kitchen of the suite my parents rented for this trip. A little sad. A little happy. A lot tired.
Rue had a bit of a meltdown today.
He is a rule-abiding sort. If he weren’t my son, and a seven-year-old, he’d be kind of a ninny. He doesn’t like to skip school, even with permission from the grown-ups, because it’s a rule. He Does Not Like Breaking Rules.
Combine that with the fact that he’s a real people-pleaser who puts anyone’s desires ahead of his own. He is loath to make any decision without first being absolutely sure that it’s the decision that will best please all other parties.
Combine that with my mother, desperately trying to manipulate him into skipping school to spend more time with us.
Add further the fact that he Had to go to school today, for testing, and because another day off would put him on the district’s educational-neglect list, which would look pretty bad for his mother, the assistant principal of his school.
Torn between two of his most basic tendencies (rule-abiding and people-pleasing), and the result was that he had something like a panic-attack.
Poor little guy.
He finished the school day. Kept to the rules. And it seemed that he was okay by the time I saw him.
For me, the day started with a massage. Which was the best thing I’ve done for myself in ages. Just half an hour of Swedish massage, by an extremely good masseuse. It was insanely wonderful. God, I wish I’d gotten an hour. It was the most sensuous and healing thing I’ve felt in more than a year. I went because I had an incredibly painful knot yesterday, and now, fourteen hours after her work, I still have back-bliss.
Then we went to pick up Rue, but he had his meltdown and decided not to skip the afternoon, so we had to wait four extra hours for him, with nothing to do, on the outskirts of Salt Lake City. It was a drag. My brother and dad and I went to Barnes and Noble for an hour, sat in a restaurant for two, just killing time.
Finally we picked him up, and he was fine. We had a brilliant afternoon. Swimming, playing with his matchbox cars, making faces at each other. I just love that kid.
When we dropped him off back at his house, I felt satisfied by this visit, these four days. I wasn’t really sad. That comes now.
It’s two in the morning. I can’t sleep, as ususual. And now I’m looking forward to the next time I might get to visit, and the dismal time in between. I’m feeling grief for this beautiful childhood that I’m missing. Being an absentee father just sucks.
The short of it is that any day I get to hang out with Rue is a good day. And if I get a massage into the bargain, it’s a great day.