In yoga class we often work on balance, sometimes choosing poses that either provide a challenge or relief. I often teeter, sometimes grow stronger, but never give up hope that one day I will find perfect balance, even if it is a fleeting moment.
I’ve been hard-pressed to blog lately. I feel like I teeter between the happiness I garner from my life with the Brewmaster and my career, and Ballet Boy’s departure for Houston. Striving for balance, I weave dizzily between the comfort of hugs from the Brewmaster and a warm home to feeling desperately sad about my adolescent son being too far to visit regularly or to give a daily hug at a time in his life that he needs to know more than ever that I am fully 100% behind him.
Ballet Boy isn’t gone forever. Like a college student, he will be home for some short breaks. Unlike a college student, he will never come home for extended periods in the summer due to the fact that he needs to keep intensively dancing. He will also visit his father in France. Sometimes I walk into his room or look at his toiletries in the bathroom and cry, realizing that there will be so few moments that we will share the same proximity that I thought we would have until he was a normal age to fly the coop.
Unlike a college student, my son is young to be on his own. Like most teenagers, he wants to stretch his wings and do things on his own. Like most mothers, I struggle between being ready to grant him that liberty and being scared to death that I will lose him. Recently we’ve conversed about him taking the light rail in Houston by himself after dusk to a hair appointment that he made on his own.
Deep down, I am very proud that he wants to do these things on his own, and that he can do them successfully. I can’t help but remind him to be aware of his surroundings, to put his phone away and look like he has a purpose when he is out on his own in a big city. He reminds me that I can track him on the iPhone FindMyFriends app. I remind him that the app only tracks his phone, not him, and that I want him in one piece. I wobble between letting him go and wanting to shield him from any bad things that can happen. Then I realize he needs his own practice, and I try to let go.
I’ve lived all over the world: London, Paris, Marseille. I’ve traveled to Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, England, Italy, the Netherlands…and done more than my share of stupid things. I’ve had my wallet stolen in Paris and been surrounded by a gang of taunting teenagers on a bus in Marseille, France’s second largest city. I survived. Ballet Boy will survive. It is so hard to know how to help him become independent, way before most sons would have to take that step.
The recent terrorist attacks all over the world this past week have thrown a blanket of darkness over all of us. We teeter between our comfortable American lives and realizing that for many, that comfort can blow up in a second, at the whim of a fanatic whose sole purpose is fear-mongering.
We can choose to teeter into the abyss, giving into fear, hatred and revenge.
Or we can pull ourselves up, be brave and choose to see that light and happiness will prevail. Like my yoga poses, this is work. Courage takes practice and dedication.
Today’s practice involves baking banana bread for Ballet Boy and my niece who is in her first semester at Yale. Packing a care package of cough drops, snacks, Emergence-C and other items to get Ballet Boy through finals and multiple Nutcracker performances makes me feel useful again. He knows I always think of him, but sometimes it is nice to get a physical reminder on a hard day.
In the meantime, I will send Ballet Boy cyber hugs and hug the Brewmaster even closer, give my dog, who just had a second surgery but came out cancer-free, some extra love, and try to remain a positive, motivational force for my cello students. I am so proud of what Ballet Boy is accomplishing that it makes up for any selfish desires to keep him nearby. There are many ways to balance, and I will keep looking for them.
There are days where finding the balance is hard, whether it is a work in progress or an accomplishment. But balancing never involves caving to fear or sadness and somehow I feel if I practice it every day, I will teeter closer and closer to the right side. The bright side.