You Are Young, I Am old

I have been talking to my oldest daughter as of late and I am a bit torn as to how I feel. She is the older of my two precious daughters. As all parents, I am still concerned as to her welfare and her well being. I have to remind myself she is not a little girl anymore. My daughter is full grown and has a grown son who is graduating high school this year and going off to college in the fall.

I am gratified and proud that she is a smart, independent lady, with a good sense of her self-esteem and is an extremely independent and a goal oriented, ambitious person. I have often referred to her as "my little Nazi" in that she is sort of obsessive compulsive in maintaining control of her world and her environs. My daughter is a high school government and history teacher and maintains order and demands respect from her students and colleagues and bless his heart, her yellow labrador, Scout. In other words “she was born at night but not last night “I do love my cliches. I realize I am deep into the muddy waters of describing a woman and I am apt to be severely chided for anything that is not a glowing expose of exceptional womanly virtues. I would challenge other men to attempt this endeavor if they dare.

What has inspired this introspection into my personal feelings? I was listening to a song by Cat Stevens last night and thus this, my melancholic pining. I will attempt to overtly express myself, in these, my feeble terms of endearment. The song was “Father and Son” and I will try to include a U-Tube presentation of the song if I can figure out how to do it. A song is nothing more than poetry put to music. I will use my “artistic license” to change the lyrics somewhat to say what I want it to say.

It’s time to make a change

Just relax, take it easy

You’re still young, that’s your fault

There is so much you have to know

Find a man, settle down

If you want, you can marry

Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy!

I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy

To be calm when you’ve need of something going on

But take your time, think a lot

Why? Think of everything you’ve got

For you will be here tomorrow

But your dreams may not

How can I try to explain?

Because when I do, you turn away again

It’s always been the same, same old story

From the moment you could talk, you were ordered to listen

Now there must be a way because I have to go away

I know I must leave you

Maybe it’s time for you to make a change

Just sit down, take it slowly

You’re still young, that’s your fault

There is so much you have gone through

Find happiness, settle down

If you want you can marry

Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy!

All the times I have cried

Keeping all these things inside

It’s hard, but harder to ignore it

If they were right, I’d agree

But it’s them, they know not me

Now there is a way and I know that I must go away

I know I must leave you

Yea! Real tear jerky sentiment here. I will explain. My daughter will soon have an empty nest being her son is leaving for college and the prospect of living alone and teaching high school the rest of her life, with a dog, is not appealing to her. She is her father’s daughter and the pull of adventure is in her. She is interviewing for teaching jobs in some foreign countries such as New Cairo, Egypt, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, The Oil Emirates and so forth. She is of course looking for the best money and perks. Tax free money with housing included, along with transportation and living allowances, plus perks like flying you home on their dime. She has considered working for the Peace Corp but that is damn near poverty. She needs this as I have always needed it, adventure, and change. To explore, to see what’s over the next hill or around the corner, to be a seeker of people and experiences, to immerse oneself in a world unexplored and untasted. Yea! You go girl! Experience all you can and relish it. There will be disappointment and some homesickness but then again there is the exhilaration of being you and when you become weary, then come home and settle down.

The teary part is that I am old and I will have to leave her one day soon for it is certain I will pass as the song says, I must eventually go. I cannot escape the grave but I can say I have seen the world and experienced the adventure of it and I am glad I did. My sentiment is how can I help my children to handle and accept my passing, “How can I help you?’ I am content and await the appointed time with a deep satisfaction of having done my duty, served my God and country and will die honorably, but we don’t want to see our children grieve. Life is hard but it makes you stronger. Death is just as important a part of living as being born was.

My daughter has experienced deep grief before in her life but she is strong. My daughter lost her husband to a terminal illness and had to raise their son alone. She again found love but her next beau was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. She will now be turning a new page in her life and as a parent I am both fearful and elated. She is a grown woman and I can now only suggest and advise. Nothing is chiseled in stone, all things are in a state of flux. Grab hold of it, embrace it, and stride forward with confidence and determination and most of all enjoy it and smile.

I just hope she picks a place I would like to go back to. Get It? I’ve been to most places. Maybe Nepal or Bhutan, I have never seen the “Roof of the World”, the Himalayas. That was a pun because my adventurous days are over. I can no longer climb the hill or scale the craggy tor. My spirit is strong but I now have a frailer body, such as it is, I am now in the winter of my years. "Worry not for tomorrow, for tomorrow, will have enough worries of its own.

There is one more great adventure for me and that is dying, because I certainly believe it is not the end. Just another turn, just another look to see what's on the other side or around the bend. It is my ardent hope that my brother Gene, will be there to greet me and we can once again tread softly amongst the leaves and needles under a canopy of forest green and take a deep breath and drink from that stream that slakes my thirst and quenches my soul.