Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Like There's No Tomorrow

It was bedtime, the witching hour for complicated questions about life, philosophy, outer space, and trigonometry. The child who had once waxed eloquent about "negative infinity meeting infinity on the other side of the universe" was at it again.

"I have some questions," he said. He always had questions, but especially at this hour, when my brain had already gone to bed. He was twelve, that magical time when kids start to gain energy, somehow sapping it right out of their parents. Just standing near him, I could feel my batteries draining.

"You really need to read your book," I yawned. My tween bookworm was behind in "reading points" for school, because he insisted on reading everything but the approved curriculum. Much like me, he didn't appreciate being told what to read or do.

"Okay, Mom," he said, feigning cooperation. I knew his next move would be to change the topic of conversation.

"Really, you need to read a lot," I gave him the mom-glare, complete with raised eyebrow. "You need to catch up so you have enough reading points. You need to read like there's no tomorrow."

Oops. That was enough of an opening for him to put me into the Nascar wall. I knew it, he knew it, and he took a big breath and did it.

"Mom," he sighed(with twelve you get eyeroll), "If there's no tomorrow, why would I read?"

"Oooh, here we go," I murmured and sat down, getting comfortable and yawning again.

"If there's no tomorrow, why not do something fun? The reading points won't matter anyway. They're not due for another month. And since there's no tomorrow-"

"It's an expression. I didn't make it up. It's just an...expression." Suddenly my bed was so very distant.

"But it doesn't make sense." He had a valid point. "If there's no tomorrow, I'd much rather play video games..."

"I know, I get it," I sighed. "I'm just not up to defending the concept right now." Never mind the minor detail that he was absolutely right.

We know very little about tomorrow. And in that sense, we need to make the most of today. We need to hug more, hate less. Less calls, more contact. Less fluff talk, more action. Corny, but true. Too many manipulative mind games, verbal diarrhea, saying one thing, doing another, by people who pretend to be friends when all they want is someone to listen to them rant. And they'd been sucking the life out of me, to the point that I was too exhausted to listen to my own son.

It was time to cull the herd.

No more long-winded, circular monologues from people who were always too "swamped" to listen to my thoughts, yet thought nothing of wasting literally hours of my time. No time for that, and frankly for me, finally I told them - I had no time for them.

My son had just read The Phantom Tollbooth, where "killing time" was considered murder. It was a valid point. Saying you'll show up and blowing it off, whether it's a lunch, a listen, or an entire relationship, should be criminal. I couldn't have them arrested, but I realized I could eliminate them, so I did. Life is too short. Tick, tick, tick....

My mind had wandered off to an ugly place, a wasteland of broken promises. Josie the dog wandered in, wondering what was taking me so long to get to bed. She saw the perturbed look on my face and made a u-turn out the door. Smart dog.

I looked up. My son had his arms out, waiting for a hug. He beckoned me back from the needy vanity I had thought was love but was only a selfish, cruel farce. Smart kid, patiently waiting for his mom to come around, to heal, to home.

Truly there is no time but now. I mustered up the last bit of energy I had. I hugged and listened to my son. He hugged and listened to me. And that, I realized, is all that matters. The busy busy phonies who had wasted so much of my time in the past would go on forever, however long that was, chasin' their tails and chattin' the world dry. But now they'd do it elsewhere. Now, here in my son's heart, I was untouchable. Suddenly I didn't care about tomorrow, because I had fully embraced today.

Finally, fabulously, I was lucky in love.

1 comment:

insomniac said...

you mean as soon as there is a tomorrow, there isn't?

*head explodes*