Happy Birthday, Son! (again)


This is the second blog I’m writing about my son’s birthday. Much has happened to him in the past year. I was fortunate to spend more time than usual with him. Last year I visited him in Japan. We traveled to several different cities, including the village where my son’s girlfriend lives to meet her parents.

In the spring he decided to accept another job in Shenyang, China at a brand new school. He came home to the US this summer in between jobs for about 2 1/2 months. He was here for about ten days for my surgery in June, then he spent several weeks traveling to see his father, brother, and a friend from his time in Switzerland. He also managed to see his friends who are still there on the staff of the military academy where he worked for fifteen summers. That means visiting in four states during that time. Then he was back home for another month.

I used to watch the Waltons many years ago where parents, children (several) and grandparents all lived in the same farmhouse. I don’t think I could do it. I’ve lived by myself for too many years to get accustomed to having someone else in the house again. If my son were to ever decide to move back home, I would have to convert the two car garage into an apartment so there would be some alone time for me. I think if he ever did decide to come home, before I did the conversion, I would let him live in the house and he could pay apartment rent for me until I could no longer live alone. He stated he might be done seeing the world by the time he is 45. That’s in nine more years.

Now he has celebrated another birthday. The day is already over for him. It’s not yet 11 a.m here but he is 13 hours ahead of Texas time. October 1 is National Day in China. On his FB he thanked the Chinese government for commemorating his birthday. He also thanked the school for arranging the fall vacation so he could travel with some friends from Switzerland this week. He and his friends are going to or are probably already in Malaysia. I have to consult a map to see where in the world he is.

When he was born, the first time I saw him, I thought I had given birth to a reincarnated father. He looked so much like him. In many ways he resembles him except for his desire to travel. To my knowledge, my father left Illinois two times. When I was one year old, he drove my mother, aunt, sister, cousin and me to California so we could visit the three aunts who lived out there. From what I was told, he turned right around and drove back home to Illinois to work again without staying to enjoy himself. When I was ten, he attended some kind of conference in Bermuda with the boss and his wife. He may have been gone a week. To my knowledge, those were the only two times he was ever out of the state. Except for driving me three hours to college or an hour to summer camp, I don’t think he was even out of his home town.

Fast forward to his grandson who seems to have a desire to see the world. His list of countries he has visited grows by several every year. Sometimes I think my father shut the world out, sometimes I think my son wants to find himself somewhere in the world.

My son asked that I not send him anything for his birthday since his position is so precarious. By the time the school had all the paperwork done in order to receive permission to admit students, it was August 1. As a result, they have two students. He doesn’t know if the school will be able to survive or not. He doesn’t want to have to move a lot of “stuff”.

Thanks to skype, I was able to talk with him before he left for his vacation. I also sent him an ecard. That’s the extent of my recognition of his birthday this year.  At one point in my son’s relationship with his girlfriend, he gave her a stuffed baby seal. They’ve been sending it back and forth. The seal arrived in time to help him celebrate his birthday. The staff at the school also had a potluck dinner and he was presented with a cake. I think that was enough to make him happy. I hope so.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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