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August 24, 2004 - Tuesday, 5:21 a.m.

Trains, Boys and the passage of Time...

Kyle, Justin, Curtis, Josh & Philip - Winter 1989

I thought I was going to be able to sleep longer. I tried, really I did, but it didn't help. I woke up at about 4 am. Tried to lay down and sleep some more, but it didn't work. Checked my games online, read some blogs, checked my email... finally gave up and took a shower.

It's still dark out. The house is quiet. Earlier I listened to a train rumble through town and thought about how much the railroad has changed in the last century, from central to the movement of the masses, to coal trains rumbling across America. I thought about how my grandfather road the rails at 15 from North Dakota to California, later to return to North Dakota a 'man' in his father's eyes. Which was important, as it meant his father would cease to be abusive to him. My grandfather was a gentle man, leaving home when he did was probably the best thing he could have done for himself. He remained a gentle man all of his life. My mother recalls that the wild barn cats would let him pet them. She said she spent hours trying to get close enough to touch them, but they never did let her. Funny how the mind runs off on a tangent... just the sound of the train and there I am.

I can hear the traffic on the highway now. It's just a drone, not specific 'car' sounds. Just enough to know that the traffic has picked up as people begin to head to work. Still, the house is quiet. Curt's gone back to his Dad's. Justin and Moon are still asleep, and of course, Phil is in Fort Collins.

I knew having Phil go off to college was going to be hard for me. It's funny how you get accustomed to people. Justin was always going somewhere. Even as a toddler he'd go stay over night at Grandma and Grandpa's... or off to Josh's house. He was always on the move, never seeming to get homesick. Often he'd go directly from Grandma's to Josh's without coming home. I guess I got used to knowing he was my rolling stone. At 14 he went to school in India for about 8 months... then at 19 to China for about 9 months. I even realize that he'll probably be gone again half way around the world once he is done with college. I miss him when he's gone, but I guess I've already come to grips with it after India. However, Phil... Hes always been here, always the one to ask me about my day, to check in with me before he went out or when he got home. He always visits with me. It's time, I know. He needs the space to grow and see who he is. He doesn't need a Mom relying on him. I am so happy that he was able to make Fort Collins happen. I know it is something that he's wanted to do. I'm finding that I want to talk to him all the time. Find out what's going on, how his day is going, is he happy, etc. I realize that I need to give him space. It's hard, but it's the right thing to do I think.

His leaving has made it more apparent to me what the loneliness is going to feel like when everyone is off into their own lives. I knew it was coming. Heck, how could I NOT know? Boys. Boys become Men and Men go out into the world, and that is what I WANT them to do. But it does leave me to my own devices for most of the rest of my life, kind of a scary thought. For the last 20 years the boys have been the focal point of my life. It's what kept me getting up and going to work every day. It was motivation for lots of things. You can't replace it in a heartbeat. It takes time. I am glad that I started school when I did. It gives me something to focus on as all these passages surround me and threaten to engulf me.

Curtis. Growing up fast, maturing and changing rapidly now. He's become such a nice young man (though able to drive me crazy at the drop of a hat.) :o) I often feel bad that my patience is not so good with him. He is very different from me. Though no one else can really see it, I see him as pretty focused. I'll be interested to see if that manifests itself in him. He is much more organized then my other two boys as well. I think if he could get beyond asking me for stuff more then talking to me, I could get closer to him. It's what I'd like to do in this next year. Phil and Justin stopped begging me to buy stuff a long time ago... still Curtis can hardly see me without asking me to buy something. It drives me crazy. I want to enjoy him as a person and not feel like a walking checkbook. I love him dearly, and I worry that he is often hurt by people (including me), but that he hides it. I've probably spent more time talking to him about things then either Justin or Philip, trying to give him direction, trying to help him. Don't know that any of it has been helpful. I worry about him.

All my boys seem to keep their feelings to themselves. I think maybe that is just men. I don't know. Hey, I had FOUR sisters... no brothers. Women gush about stuff. We know what is going on to some extent with each other, because we talk about stuff. We talk about everything. Men don't seem to, at least not the men in my life.

It's starting to get light out. About time to face the day.


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