I grew up a bit today. As I watched my first born walk away, passport in hand with the bags I packed just so, I felt my legs grow slightly. As he passed through airport security, my heart skipped a beat. As he turned the corner and went out of sight, I lost my breath.
For this adventure he goes solo, beyond the bounds of my watchful eye. This time, he will double bounce with others and hopefully remember to change his underwear. But as he walked towards his adventure and away from me, I saw him grow a mile. Or two. Or maybe three.
Me? Well, I just stood there and grew – inch by painful inch.
The day I met my first born marks a milestone in my life. A day after which, I was no longer the person I was before. An anniversary of my becoming conscious of complete and utter vulnerability. Upon meeting him, I would never again walk this Earth with the same sense of complete confidence. The physical scars have long since healed, but I remain tragically aware of how profoundly wounded I could be because of this most precious being.
My deep vulnerability is packaged neatly and poetically with the laughter – sometimes a chuckle, sometimes absurd, full-on, side-splitting belly laughs. Belly laughs like when we discovered that I pee (just) a little bit when he double bounces me on the trampoline. That’s right, I pee, just enough to make me laugh out loud.
So double bounce away, little man, ’cause the mixture of belly-filling laughter and slight humiliation is truly sublime.
An epic scene enters my mind without warning. I find myself behind the eyes of a Bedouin shepherd as he walks across the Sinai. A cloth rests across his weathered face and I feel his warm breath, moving slowly in and out as he walks across the vast desert. There is an intoxicating rhythm to his steps and for a brief instant, I see what he sees, feel what he feels, hear what he hears.
His feet have walked this path before, much like those who came before him. The constant sound of the howling wind surrounds him like the comforting embrace of ancestors, pushing him onward. I drift with him over this ancient place.
He approaches a steep gorge and pauses at the edge, his red-patterned kufeya blowing fiercely behind him. He stands strong upon the edge and I inhabit his fierce, nomadic soul. We stand together in this moment, out in the open. Living only with what can be carried and leaving only footprints behind.