In fact, our little garden kindly gave fruit well into October. Home grown tomatoes and strawberries are always tastier and we treasured each blessing, enjoying and savoring each one, thankful for the bounty of the extended season. It is always a wonderful sign to witness life thriving and especially more so when that success is from home.
And, with the progression of life and the season, as sentimentalists often do, reminiscing about last summer is the appropriate measure for this post, sharing a morsel of the therapeutic summer that my family desperately needed unbeknownst to my wife and I when the summer began this year.
On the day I picked up my children from the bus stop after the last day of school, we quickly went home and dropped off everything related to our busy life. I purposefully shifted our schedule into "shaka" drive. We each took a chill pill and slowed everything down to a snail's pace. Stress was written all over my oldest child, his expression, his body language, his voice … he was crying out in silence. That was not our sunshine. The weight burdening my son had become more pronounced over the last few weeks of school and I didn’t completely understand how dire the situation was until a wonderful friend, a parent from the same school environment, made me aware of the urgent nature.
My oldest child has always been a self-motivated and steadfast student of life, eager to learn with a spirit as pure and innocent as the child who first gazed upon his parents with calming wisdom. My family was never worried about his actions, but that was my mistake. He did so well that I forgot that he was still a child, my child. I just assumed he was fine. He always shined and he proved it time and time again. The problem is that I became complacent. I assumed and I was wrong.
That day after school, I didn’t say much. I said, “We’re going to the beach.” Small talk filled the air. The radio was playing random pop songs. On the way, my three children lit up when they realized I was buying our favorite mango snow bubbles with big boba (mango shakes with artificial tapioca). Smiles and laughter mixed in and diluted the tension emanating from my oldest son. The air became a bit lighter, but the looming weight was still present. I packed a blanket to spread over the sand. I also brought a Frisbee and a football. We unloaded at my favorite local beach and made our way to the sand. We walked over train tracks with drinks and gear in hand, but my oldest son and I walked in silence. My comedian and baby girl laughed their way to the beach well ahead of us. I wanted to speak, but I dared not. My heart was crying and my mind was racing as I witnessed my sunshine dragging his feet with each step. I wanted to carry him and hold him, but I knew he had to overcome this with his own strength, guided by my gentle hand. We just walked in a long, drawn, silence, sipping our drinks. When we finally made it to the sand, I laid out the blanket, but I turned around and found my oldest son, in his school clothes, lying face down in the sand behind me. He was just staring at the glistening crystals on the beach. I was certain his mind was racing like mine was, but the outside was a shell overburdened by the conditions of his thoughts. The weight was too heavy for him. He was screaming inside because the silence from my sunshine was deafening. My heart was aching and I felt helpless, but I knew what I had to do. I didn’t say a word. I quietly found a seat on a log next to him as he lay face down in the sand. I don’t remember how long he lay in that position, but he eventually got up and started moving on his own. He joined his brother and sister. They started playing games. I witnessed the healing power of our bonds. I knew the beach would be therapeutic. I knew he had to spend quality time with his family filled with love and healing. I knew.
That was the beginning of adolescence in my home. The summer of 2014 was an important time for growth for all three of my children. I had to adapt and expand my vision. In doing so, I temporarily placed all of my writing on hold. I did the same with managing my sites on the internet and recording music too. My family rebalanced. That is life, after all. Change is the only constant and we have to adapt. So much to write, but it all came down to honesty. This is an abrupt conclusion, but honesty reveals the truth about what is real and sometimes, it’s real tough. Wonderful things should remain wonderful, but they won’t remain wonderful without the effort for making new wonders, I wonder …
"Honesty" is a song by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel. Columbia Records released the song as the third single from his sixth studio album 52nd Street (1978) in 1979. "Honesty" was solely written by Joel, while production was handled by Phil Ramone.