I reached into the vault and pulled this entry out today because a reader recently commented that it was one of her favorites, and what do you know, it's one of mine, too.
When I wrote this, Ryan and Nolan were barely 16 and 14, in the middle of what Anne and I called "The Pod Person Phenomenon" where our sweet, wonderful little children were taken in the night and replaced by Pod People who suddenly thought we were so lame and wanted to argue about everything, regardless of how insignificant it actually was.
The Pod People eventually departed as rapidly and unexpectedly as they arrived, but the moment I captured in this blog was a joyful island in the middle of a stormy sea of exasperated sighs and rolling eyes:
the autumn moon lights my way
I heard Led Zeppelin coming out of Ryan's room, so I put down my Sudoku book (yeah, I've been hooked for about a month), walked down the hall, and knocked on his door.
"Come in," he said.
I opened, and entered his sanctuary: astronomy posters hung from his walls, and a stack of books (Les Miserables, The Count of Monte Cristo, Macbeth, Divine Comedy and a host of other books that your average AP English student with a 4.0 in the class reads*) sat on his desk. A pile of (clean? dirty?) clothes lay in a heap at the foot of his bed. He sat at his desk, looking at The Internets.
He turned around in his chair. "What's up?" He said.
"Oh, I just heard you listening to Zeppelin II, and I didn't want to miss a chance to share in something we both love, that I happened to introduce to you in the pre-Pod days," I thought.
"I . . . just wondered what you were doing." I said.
He got very excited. "Oh! I found this awesome Family Guy Website, and I was downloading audio clips from it, and putting them on my computer." He clicked a few times, and showed me the website.
"When I was your age, I did the same thing, with The Prisoner and Star Trek," I said, "on my Mac II."
He frowned. "Weren't you on Star Trek?"
"Yeah," I said, "but the sounds were from the original series."
He looked back at me.
"So it was geeky, but it wasn't totally lame," I said. Why did I feel like I our ages and roles were reversed?
"What's The Prisoner?" He said.
"A show that I love, that I don't think you're geeky enough to enjoy."
He clicked his mouse, and iTunes fell silent.
"Wil," he said, "you didn't think I'd like Firefly."
"Touche," I said with a smile. "Any time you want to watch The Prisoner, I am so there."
Actually, any time you want to do anything, I am so there, because I don't want to be a stranger to you for the next five years, and I'll close the gap any way I can.
"Okay," he said. "Maybe after school some day next week."
"When my homework's done," he said. "I know, Wil."
He wasn't snotty. He wasn't rude. He wasn't impatient or unpleasant. He just . . . was. I saw a lot of myself in him.
"I need to work my a–" he began, "I need to work very hard this semester."
I nodded my head. "I'm glad you know that, Ryan."
He turned back around to his computer. I stood in his doorway and looked at him for a minute.
He may not have my DNA, but I've given him some of the things that matter in life.
He didn't turn around. "Hmm?"
"I love you."
"I love you too, Wil."
"Ramble On, And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl, on my way.
I've been this way ten years to the day, Ramble On,
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams."
*Yeah, I'm proud of him. Sue me.
We ended up watching a whole lot of The Prisoner together before he went off to college, and we watched a lot of Twin Peaks, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits, too. I meet grown-up kids and their parents all the time these days who tell me that watching Star Trek together was important to them, and after watching these shows with my own kids, I totally understand what they're talking about.
Ryan is in his sophomore year right now. Every day, it seems, he sends me a text message or an e-mail, or calls me and his mom to tell us what's going on at school, or just to tell us he loves us. While I do miss him, I can't be too sad, because my whole goal as his parent was to raise a smart, capable, independent, successful and responsible person.
Every day, it seems, he affirms for me in some way that we were successful.