Where Are You Going, My Brown-Eyed Son?

Oh, where are you going, my brown-eyed son?

There you were, a small shadow on a monitor.  Small and washed by changing shades of black and white amid countless lines that made watching difficult. The Technician slowly moved the grey piece of equipment around the oiled skin of your mothers swollen abdomen.  There. Right there.  A  hand. Look at the fingers.  The thumb of the other hand seems to hover near your mouth.  A few months later I could make out your bent knee.  A few months later, you looked like a cherry wrapped in white as you lay in the incubator.  You wanted to get out on an early release program from the confines of the womb.  We were unprepared for how early you would be.  You drank the real milk and you waited for the mashed carrots.  And, you went through Pampers like quarters in Vegas.  That was when I began saving coupons.  Hey, a dime here and a dime there adds up.  You crawled and you would use my wooden stirring spoon to bang on over-turned pots and pans.  I rocked you to sleep singing “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Baby Beluga”.

Where are you going, my brown-eyed son?

We camped at beautiful sites on small ponds.  I took you to Howe’s Cavern and you said “Awesome, Dad”.  We collected leaves for your science project.  I encouraged you to play sports but you resisted me.  You wanted no part of Tai Kwan Do classes.  Soon, you learned to swim.  You joined the Little League.  We sat on an embankment while you got on first.  Next batter hits it long.  You begin to run toward right field but our shouts redirected you to second.  You went on to learn new skills.  You were a center in JV football.  We made origami animals. We rode an old train.  We snorkeled in Bermuda.  At dinner that night,  you almost met Ross Perot.

Oh, where are you going, my brown-eyed son?

I called your high school to have them find you in a class and let you know your stepmother and I were okay on Sept. 11, 2001.  I helped proof a few English papers for you.  We sit and watch you stroll across the stage to take your diploma.  A few years later, we watched you stroll across the stage to take your Associate Degree from BCCC.  Before we know it, you’ve come to New York City to stay with us in our one bedroom apartment while you studied for a B.A. at Baruch College.  Our one bedroom became a two bedroom…you slept on the pull-out sofa. My computer area became the kitchen table.  We had long talks late at night about the ethics of downloading music for free and other topics that lay buried deep in my memory bank.  The day after you graduated from Baruch, you moved to Queens to share an apartment with friends.  You landed a great job in the middle of the Recession.  Not bad, kid.

Where are you going, my brown-eyed son?

You watched as the movers packed up our belongings when we moved upstate.  You watched them wrap the piano and told us (we sat on the stairway in the hall) they did it as quickly and easily as stuffing a taco.  You said: “Have a safe trip north” when we pulled out to follow the van.  Were you happy for our new life or were you just happy to have the Big Apple to yourself without me bugging you all the time to join us for dinner?  In the eighteen months we’ve been gone, you moved on in many ways.  Promotions.  And less and less time at your shared apartment.  You have a friend.  She is a lovely woman with wit, talent and wisdom.  Be kind to my son.  I’ll be his father forever.  He and I are linked by an exquisite chain of DNA.  When he laughs, I laugh. When he’s happy, I’ll be happy.  And, if he cries, I’ll cry  too.

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                                         Oh, where are you going, my brown-eyed son?

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