We sit out on the deck on a perfect late spring Saturday, drinking gallons of lemonade and munching on turkey subs. The three of us – my man, my son and I – have been working for hours in the garden planting, snipping, weeding, watering, and for the men, moving rocks.
The father and the adult son have little to say to each other most times – it’s that time in their lives when the father can no longer tell the son what to do, and the son is no longer willing to listen to anything the father suggests anyway. But when they take their shirts off in the hot sun and push and pull 200-pound rocks to remake a 100-year-old rock wall, then, then they love each other. No talk, just grunts, a curse now and then, and suddenly a spurt of laughter.
Father and Son on the Rocks.
When the food is gone, my man goes back to rebuilding the stone wall, and my son and I sit quietly, companionably, not wanting to move from the warmth and relaxation.
“What are you up to, mom?” he asks suddenly. I never talk with him about what I’m doing. I’m too busy asking him about his life, his plans, his philosophy on life. I’m the questioner and the listener. But now he insists that I talk about me.
“Just the usual,” I reply. “Working, teaching, writing, not much, I guess.”
He looks at me with blue eyes as clear as the sky above and says, “You must be kidding.”
“What?” I ask.
“You could write anything. You could write something like, what’s his name, the guy who wrote Tuesdays with Morrie.”
I laugh. “This from the son who doesn’t read my stories.”
“Yes I do,” he retorts. “I read your stuff. Some of it.”
“Well, what should I write about?” I ask kiddingly. But he ponders the question seriously, thinking.
“Well, a book like Tuesdays with Morrie but about being a mother. You could write a great book about being a mother.”
I examine his face, one-day growth on it, intense eyes, no smirk.
He means it.
I want to cry. Instead, I hug my son, and he returns to the rocks.
And me? I return to my writing…