Sunday, April 02, 2006

Can I sleep while you drive?

I should be sleeping right now.

It's been a busy weekend and I'm exhausted. I should be in bed. I haven't had a decent night's sleep in so long, I'm losing track. The reason I haven't been sleeping is, well, I'm not sure, other than I've had a lot of stuff on my mind. And the reason I'm not sleeping now is that I still have a lot of stuff on my mind, and a load of clothes in the drier.

I don't know where to begin, so I'll begin with how the day has ended. A short while ago I sat on the couch, watching the end of "Grey's Anatomy" with tears streaming down my face. I'm tempted to say I'm not sure why I was crying, but that's a lie. There were a couple of story lines on the show dealing with parenthood and they got to me. In one a mother, dying of cancer, struggles with what to tell or not tell her daughter about her illness and about life. Those little things that parents so want to tell their children. Those nuggets of wisdom that sound so profound in the head but seem to sound so flat when spoken out loud.

That story line got to me because, well, my daughter turned 15 today and I have spent her lifetime trying to figure out what to say to her about so many things, to impart love and wisdom, and fall so flat when we are side by side or face to face.

The other story line is about a man who is the father of Dr. Grey, the title character on the show. The man so wants to reach out to his daughter, but doesn't know how. He left the family when she was young and doesn't know how to rekindle a long dormant relationship.

Fortunately, my daughter and I don't have a dormant relationship. It is certainly much less than I want it to be and is perhaps more than she wants as a teenage girl wanting to fit in and be cool with her friends.

I spend part of Saturday evening with my daughter and her family at a birthday party for her. I relish any time with her, like a dog begging for scraps. I find myself watching her, staring at her, trying to absorb the essence of who and what she is as a young woman. When I left there was a sense of emptiness. It's a feeling I've come to know well over the years, but never get used to. The visits are shorter now in duration but more frequent than they used to be. So that emptiness, the goodbye vacuum, is a much more frequent part of my life. And yet, not frequent enough. And I feel guilty for feeling sad after visits with her. I should be happy that I'm part of her life, right? That her family includes me in activities. That when I say I love her she responds in kind, the words not even stumbling in her throat or tripping over her teeth. Those are all good things, right?

It's been a weekend of nostalgia, remembrance and regret, lots of driving and little snatches of time with family and old friends.

Today, I woke up early, after getting home late after my daughter's birthday party, losing an hour's sleep to the time change, and drove nearly 4 hours to attend another gathering for a friend who is about ready to ship off to a war zone. Along the way, I called to wish another friend a happy birthday and learned from the ticker on CNN that a storm was bearing down on my lady friend Brat's hometown, again.

No matter where I was this weekend, I felt out of place. Like I was watching it all as if it was a performance on stage, somehow separate from it all and numb. Not because I felt nothing but because I felt too much and the nerve endings and synapses could no longer process the sensations.

And then, after talking to Brat online after her latest adventure and sitting quietly on the couch, listening to the drier tumble I watch a fictionalized account of other people's lives and the emotion overflowed, spilling out the corners of my eyes, streaming over my cheeks and pouring onto my shirt, like the waterfalls I passed today while driving through the Columbia River Gorge. Some picture postcard that would make.

It was a good day. A good weekend. It was too much and not enough. So many epiphanies on the road, listening to classic rock and seeing one of the most beautiful corners of the world. Seeing and talking to so many people I love and care about and worry about and miss in such a short span of time.

I shouldn't go so long without talking to family, friends and people who are important to me. I shouldn't go so many days without decent sleep. I shouldn't go so many days without writing here. I shouldn't drive 500 miles in a day. I shouldn't listen to so much old music on a trip home.

I really should be sleeping right now.





2 comments:

GRT said...

Tears are cathartic, and very appropriate in a car, listening to minor key country western music, during a 500 mile road trip, alone. (But maybe not in many other situations.)

:-)

3rdtimesacharm( 3T ) said...

You are seriously neglecting this blog G-Man. ;-)

Hope all is well on your end of the world.

3T

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