Friday, 3rd October 2014
Our son was pretty much glued to my side for many years. A sensitive, curious child, shy but determined, with eyes so deep and dark, a soul could disappear into their depths. I did.
Today, he doesn't appear to want or need to be with me or his dad. On some level, I understand that. He is thirty seven, for God’s sake. “But” my inner voice says “I always wanted to be with my parents!” Our son makes it clear in the conversations we have with him that he is working, he is busy, and he can not commit to any plan - seldom, if ever. Social events with us seem to happen not by a plan or by organisation, but by whatever comes up in his life at the time. There is a lack of clarity: plans are ‘open’ and never fully agreed to, he may change the time or date of his arrival or departure, or who he comes with - at least with us, for I am sure there are many people he does make agreements with. He is highly successful in his career as a photographer and film maker, and I know his life is extremely full on, sometimes crazy, often eighteeen hours a day. I love that he is happy, he has an exceptionally strong work ethic, he is passionate, committed and energised. Work never occurs as work - that is truly of life’s rare gifts! - and he truly loves what he does. He has a beautiful group of friends, and we are blessed to know several of them, and he has more work than he knows what to do with, he is admired and respected, as a friend and a professional. We are exceptionally proud of him.
But it still pains me that he is seldom able to commit to social engagements with us. I feel there are others more important than us, and a phone call or a text can render any previous arrangement with us null and void.
Tonight our son calls, asking after his fathers health, for he has suffered debilitating headaches for some years now. But it turns out our son is very busy at work, and because Gerald has a headache and is not feeling well gives him an excuse not to join us. His father’s pain would be alleviated by his son’s presence, I know, but I don’t say so.
I am 65 years old. I recognise these games, and have played them myself in the long past.
We are disappointed, as there is no clear plan for tomorrow, and he is unable to commit. “Let's talk tomorrow” he says. He has known for three months that his cousin Teighan is here for just one and a half days this very weekend, before flying home to South Africa on Monday.
I wonder why - for here is man, descended from a family who valued family above all else.
FOOTNOTE: Joshua did join us for a day out with Teighan in Sydney the next day, and it was a very special day.