The Circle Game

i love my children.

Not just because 10 million years of biology has programmed me to care for, and protect, my offspring to assure proliferation of my genetic code. Come to think of it, that certainly is a factor… but not the primary factor.

i love them because they are smart, funny, thoughtful and good citizens of earth.

With the holidays, they were both able to visit for about a week.  First, The Boy arrived – stepping off a flight at midnight, completely soused, having learned the joys of holiday travel with a military haircut.  People just love buying drinks for our servicemen, even when not in uniform.

On Christmas day, the two of us headed for the airport to retrieve The Girl arriving from across the Atlantic.  A happy reunion, with a stop near The Trailer Park to pay respects at Mom’s grave.

We enjoyed a great visit, they had places to go, friends to visit, and spent time with their dad and his wife.  They spent time wrangling the manimals, eating shitty food, and yakking late into the night.  The Girl did a bit of shopping, as she needed to take 100 pounds* of America back to Turkey.  The Boy farted around with his pod of sk8rboyz.

As it got closer to departure time, they were ready to go home.

The Girl has a job, a serious boyfriend and a life back in Turkey.  The Boy has made some incredible friends in the Army, and it was clear that he missed them and his routine.

i had to smile with complete understanding, and just a bit of melancholy.  i remember that feeling…

When i was married, we’d make an annual trip to visit my in-laws.  People i genuinely adored!  Since they were 1,000 miles away, we’d spend a week.  They made an effort to keep us entertained, with excursions and adventures so we wouldn’t get bored, but we were often just happy to hang out and visit.  But after about four or five days, i was absolutely itchy to get on the road and get home.


i remember when i left home – 18 years old, leaving for university, and knowing…. KNOWING that i’d never go back.  Not because my parents were bad, or i’d had a horrible experience, but because i wanted my life to be my own.  Of the four of us, i was the only one that never ‘bounced back’.

When i’d visit my old home – now the home that houses my niece and her family – it was comfortable and ‘known’ in a way, but it was never my home again.  There were only a few weeks i stayed – maybe in the summer after my first year of university.  A few nights spent in the recliner in the living room, looking after Mom in later years.  But i never went back… i loved it, but didn’t miss it.

While my children will always find a sense of comfort coming to visit – wherever i may be – it will never be their home again.  As a minimum, they’ll stop by to eat my food, drink my booze and wrangle my critters….

There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
Before the last revolving year is through…**


* It’s less expensive to check an extra bag than to ship. i’d say most of the weight was bourbon and peanut butter…

** Joni Mitchell.  The Circle Game.  A song i did at open mic nights when i was 20, thinking “wow, this is, like, sooooo deep.”  Now when i do it, i can’t finish without breaking down in tears…

27 thoughts on “The Circle Game

  1. Now you have me breaking down. Life does indeed move in those circles and Joni Mitchell was one of my guiding stars as in “Wow, man, how deep is that?” Now I too tend to avoid listening to it in public.

    • Sorry, archie… i tried to work up a new arrangement a couple of years ago when i was taking guitar lessons. Couldn’t get through it. Can play the music, but cannot sing the words… Xoxoxo

  2. My human loves your posts- He says he thinks you should rub against as many people as you can … maybe your attitude and outlook would be absorbed by them. That would be good, but I’d be careful who you rub. Rubbing can be dangerous.

    • Awww, thanks! It’s nice to hear from the pros sometimes! Rubbing against people? The way my cat does? That’s kind of annoying, but i suppose i could try it…

    • No idea about grandcritters… If they happen, that will be amazing and wonderful, but that decision rests with them. A few years of teaching small children has served as fine supplemental birth control for The Girl, at least for now. The Boy? Who knows… If either of them breed, i’ll likely be “that” gramma…. not the one with the hugs and cooking lessons, but more like “Hey, fix gram another gin and tonic and you can play some more poker with me and the boys…”

  3. Drat you. Leaky eyes over here too.
    I visited home after I moved out (aged 17) to go to uni but never lived there again. And could never have lived there – for a range of reasons not least because I was claiming my own life, and learning who I was (and wasn’t).
    Love that the offspring enjoyed their visit, and that YOU enjoyed their visit. Life is good.

    • Life is good… No complaints here. i’d have to think more about how i felt when i left home, but it was in part because i felt bad for my parents. They’d been tending to their offspring for so long, i thought they could use a break. And, as you said, claiming my own life, finding my way, and getting on with it, whatever ‘it’ would be…

  4. Wow! That was a really good post! I look at my two young daughters and it’s hard to imagine them in the same place your kids are today but I suppose it’ll happen sooner or later. If my kids turn out half as well as your did, I’ll have considered my parenting a job well done.

    • i love how you always seem so surprised when i write an actual post! “Damn, that was good! Didn’t expect that!” Just messing with you, dear… Your girls will get there in the blink of an eye – you’ve got a lot of torture ahead of you, though. Torture, pride and unadulterated joy. It’s a good gig, really. Kids are ok.

  5. Had the same kind of Holiday, my Girl was home, but won’t be again. I’d better shy away from this Joni Mitchell song.. I may not recover. Genetic code…… you are such a gracious caring person, we need more people like you. #sharethecode

    • Thanks, gorgeous! These transitions are a bitch sometimes, but it is far easier to roll with it than to fight it… Most painful to watch parents who don’t know when to let go, kids who can’t let go, and the quagmire that creates. You know how this works… Doesn’t ache any less… As for code sharing? If Mike Rowe would get off his ass and return my phone calls, i’d be happy to give it a try!

    • Thank you, Val! For the first time in a couple of years, i’ve got the itch to write. There’s more stuff rattling around in my head, more stories from The Park, and a lot of other detritus that i need to shed…

  6. Now why you gotta get me all misty-eyed and shit? Kids, you know if not for someone’s serious illness there’s a good chance i may never had decided to procreate, just kept rolling along in my drugged up drunken haze, now i can’t imagine life without the little shits, never once have i wished them older, i want to soak in every damn day cuz i know that one day they’ll be all grown-up and shit and out there doing whatever it is they choose to do, Jah only knows i hope they ain’t nothing like their old man or i’ll be worried sick, at 17 i got on a plane and went 2000 some odd miles away from home to school, my old man told me you got on that plane a boy and came back 9 months later a man, i didn’t even know it happened, just wanted to take advantage of the country girls… but that’s another story

    • It was my response to you on the last post that got this one churning… Knew you’d get it. It is hard to imagine who they will become as adults when they’re still happy to play in dirt for an hour, and like nothing more than action figures and nerf guns. Interesting to me to look back at the children they were – and see the threads still ingrained. And when my son is asleep? He looks the same as he did as a toddler – has the same cockeyed sleeping posture, with one arm thrown over his head and his legs sort of twisted off to the side. With his new hair cut, i can still almost see the toddler face, minus a bit of the chubby cheeks… Your boyos are gonna love their old man…. forever and ever… Even when they go through the things in the middle years, they are yours for life.

        • Very happy, kono… and very badass. The physical transformation in The Boy over the past year is pretty phenomenal. i’m inspired to step up my workouts…

  7. Yes, when I left home at 17 I knew I’d never be back. We get on, but I wouldn’t think of spending much holiday time with them beyond a day or two at most. I hope mine end up wanting to spend some time together — although I won’t push the question and I hope they never feel the comeing back at Christmas is obligatory.

    • Exactly! If my children visit, i want it to be of their own volition, not because of a sense of obligation. And the holidays aren’t special with our clan, other than we all get a little extra time off from work. We can bum around together whatever time of year it is. And it’s not as though i’m afraid to travel to visit them – i like seeing them in their own habitat.

    • Thanks! Wasn’t really planned that way – that’s where we happened to be when the sun came out on a very chilly day! i’m pretty sure there isn’t anything my children couldn’t bring to me if they had to… we’ve been through some things, as all families have. It does suit us, i think! 🙂

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