Friday Fictioneers: For My Boy.


friday-fictioneers-rulesWelcome to Friday Fictioneers! Each Wednesday, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields leads our merry band in creativity. This week’s photo prompt was provided by Renee Heath. To read other stories in this week’s series or to join in, check out details on Rochelle’s blog site: Addicted to Purple.  As always, I welcome honest, considerate or constructive feedback. Please leave a comment, and tell me what you think.

Note:  I saw this photo and had a visceral response, that took me by surprise. It’s a picture of melted wax; what could be so stirring? Both of my sons are graduating in the next few weeks: one from high school and one from college. But, my older son will be moving far away for a while, and I am keenly aware that my time as his mom– when he still relies on me for comfort, advice, help– is waning. My youngest will go abroad for a few months, but he is still keenly anchored to home. He’ll be back. Not so with his brother. My boy, my older boy, has challenged me in so many ways over the years, but in just as many ways, I have grown from those challenges. I love my children in a way that makes me catch my breath sometimes– in a way that makes me see a photo of melted wax, and think about watching one more of my babies fly.

© Renee Heath

© Renee Heath

(99 Words)

We ran the shower for hours. Steam became luke-warm, but I was afraid to turn the faucet off. Your little body was wracked with barking coughs– sounding like a seal.  I held you, hoping to absorb some of your misery. The candle burned down, as I sat with you through the night.

Years have passed; your struggles have changed– life’s challenges, lessons in love– have replaced the long nights when I sat up and was your mommy.

As you graduate and fly away, I look at that old melted wax and see something more, where others see a mess.

*     *     *

If you enjoyed this post, please hit like and leave a comment; I love to hear what readers have to say.  Check out Tales From the Motherland’s Facebook page (my goal is 400 likes this year), and Twitter, where I struggle to keep it brief.

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About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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83 Responses to Friday Fictioneers: For My Boy.

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Like the photo was to you, your post was visceral to me. My oldest still has another year of high school, but it won’t be long before I’ll be facing his absence. I, too, remember the nights in the steamy bathroom when he suffered from croup. I think equating the melting wax with our growing and departing children is beautiful. Well done.

    Like

  2. Melted candle wax evokes a certain nostalgia and sadness within me as well. To me, it represents the end of something – and event, passing friendships, or old romances. You have created a haunting image in 99 words that embodies that feeling. Well done.

    Like

  3. mamaheidi60 says:

    One of your best FF writings so far! This just seemed to flow right out of you, seamlessly.

    Like

  4. El Guapo says:

    Hope your kids read this!

    Like

  5. Thanks Guapo, I hope so too! Of course even if he does, he won’t really get it until has his own. 😉

    Like

  6. Seeing something more where others see a mess. Lovely. A lot besides melting was flows in this, Dawn.

    Like

  7. wmqcolby says:

    Mothers — you can’t beat ’em! Full of heart and feelings. Great story … and thank-you!

    Like

  8. So there I am getting a pedicure trying to clear my mind and I pull out my phone to read the blogs. Your story came up first and I could barely see past the introduction to read the damn story.
    My youngest is leaving in just a few hours to go 9 hours away to a trade school for four months. In his 22 years two weeks is the longest we have ever been apart and that has been 7 years ago. I’m dying tonight. But at least I know my feelings are valid and I am not alone. As much as I hate him leaving (although I support his decision) what i think is killing me is knowing how much he will change in that short time. I know we raise them to be men, but it’s hard when they are our boys.
    And now I am crying again.

    Like

    • Oh, Dawn. Wish I could have a glass of wine with you, and give you a hug! I have blogged a lot about this kind of thing. My first post about this son, was Ode To The Middle Man, but I’ve written a lot about each of my kids and this wild ride we share with them. Letting go in bits and pieces, until we have to really let go. It’s so hard! Yes, we raise them to be men– good, caring men. But, they will always be our boys. (ironically, I had a pedicure today too! 😉 )

      Like

  9. Aw, as a mother of a 6 year old, I know I’ve got time, but that day still scares me!
    Lovely, heart-felt story!

    Like

    • Thanks so much Rachel, and welcome to Tales From the Motherland! I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post, and share your thoughts. I hope you’ll check out some other posts, and let me know what you think. As for your 6 year old, enjoy that sweet, sweet time! Give him a hug. 😀

      Like

    • Judah First says:

      You don’t have time – it goes like the wind! One day you’ll look back and say “Wha–” Enjoy!

      Like

      • I know this too well! My eldest lives in Israel; my middle son is about to leave for Australia for a year, and my youngest has one foot well out the door… the time flew! I’m already looking back, even as I dream of the exciting years ahead!

        Like

  10. misskzebra says:

    My relationship with my parents changed for the better when I moved out. Our family is evolving, and to me that’s exciting.

    Like

    • Yes! It really is an evolution. There are pros and cons to the whole moving on/out stage. I miss my kid s when their gone, but the house evolves without them too… when they come home for a visit, etc, there’s always some challenge. I’m so excited to see them finding their own grooves, but it’s an adjustment for sure! Thanks for taking the time, Miss Zebra!

      Like

  11. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Lovely, Dawn. The burning of a candle, melting wax, the passage of time so eloquently written.

    Like

  12. Lovely metaphor here, Dawn. I know you’re waiting for me to add, “But..” Not this week. 🙂 Our girls are both out of the house; one on her own for some year now, the other with two years of school left. One was an easy child, one taught me patience. Although I love them immensely and love when they’re home, I feel good about them heading into the world the way we raised them to do. There’s good in each time of life. I enjoyed your heartfelt story.

    janet

    Like

  13. Great post, I relate to it all. If only I could have poured wax on my kid to keep him here! Actually although our relationship is changing,he is still my best friend. Here’s hoping ….

    Like

  14. Jan Brown says:

    What a beautiful story. You will have many wonderful years ahead, as your relationship changes and morphs.

    Like

  15. Dawn, Lovely piece as usual. When my son left home he was living with friends nearby so that wasnn’t too bad. He went to college in the same city. My daughter spent her first year of college at the state college and got extremely homesick. She changed her major to drama, came back home to the branch of the state college in our city, and moved back in for a couple years. 🙂 What’s hard now is that we live in different “countries” and we don’t see them much. Your well-written story made me think of all the mothers in the 1800’s who actually burned candles because of sick children. One of my great grandmothers lost three of her four children and one grandmother lost her youngest at the time. It was horribly common in those days for a mother to lose one or more of her children. Going to an old graveyard you can see all the little markers. In India, many mothers still do lose children. A lot of mothers are still lost in childbirth here. Many don’t get good prenatal care. Many women are anemic and actually bleed out after giving birth. I personally knew one young woman it happened to. Some hospitals don’t mearsure up. It’s extremely sad.

    Like

    • Susan, we forget that there are many places in the world, including some areas of the US, where childbirth is not safe– healthy, long lives are not a given! It is, indeed, very sad! It’s very hard to live so far from your children. My daughter lives in Israel, my son is going to Australia for a year… I can relate. I appreciate you sharing such powerful family stories; thanks!

      Like

      • Dawn, You’re welcome. You’re right; it’s easy to forget that in a wealthy country like the U.S. there are still some people who suffer the hardships of poverty including poor health care.

        Susan

        Like

  16. Ah.. Yes I could understand this so well… A history of dependency finally into his independence.. Love your introduction as well… Learning from challenges is important, but too rarely I see that parents do.

    Like

    • My son has given me lots of opportunities for learning and growth, and while they have not always been easy… the journey has been amazing! I’m so proud of the young man he has become… He presented his thesis this week, and his future is very bright. It will be incredible to see it unfold.

      Like

  17. Lovely. My son has just left for a two month trip around Europe and then will be starting university in September, so I know exactly what you’re feeling.
    Claire

    Like

  18. A moving preamble and response to the prompt. Tough days ahead, but you’ll both pull through.

    Like

  19. Judah First says:

    Beautiful picture of a Mother’s love. Nice job, Dawn. 🙂

    Like

  20. Awww! What a beautiful, touching story, Dawn! Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    Like

  21. I remember when my little brother had croup. My mom did the same with him. Your story was amazing. I’ll never look at melted wax the same again.

    Like

  22. Sandra says:

    That was a great take on the prompt, right from the heart. Well done.

    Like

  23. Oh, so very lovely. Seldom are seemingly mundane things, just that. I spent a long-overdue few days with my parents a few weeks ago and this kind of reminiscence was the tone of the whole visit. Much needed reconnection for me, my Mum and my step-Dad. Wishing you and your family well through the transition!

    Like

    • Thanks so much Freya. I am touched that you enjoyed it, and appreciate you sharing your own experience. The older I get, the more of those tender moments there are. I suppose you realize that time is precious!

      Like

  24. Mother’s see what is there… a lovely story in time for Mother’s Day….

    Like

  25. Nan Falkner says:

    Your story is wonderful! There are a lot of mothers who feel the same way – I certainly did. When my oldest son went to college (only 2 hours away), he came home with us the same day to get a next load for his room at college. I cried all the way home too – I still had 3 sons at home but it just wasn’t the same. Great point of view! Nan 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks so much Nan! I am a total baby when it comes to these things. I allow my kids a lot of space, but I do miss them! I have also helped raise 2 nephews who I adore. I’m at the older one’s graduation this weekend, and I think I’ve cried buckets! Amazing we moms make it to old age! 😉

      Like

  26. elappleby says:

    I loved this, I think it may be my favourite so far this week. Beautifullly evocative. And your intro was almost as lovely as your story.

    Like

  27. Dear Dawn,

    What mother of grown children can read this without shedding a few tears? All three of my sons are adults. I wondered for a while if my youngest, who was my biggest challenge from conception, would ever make it on his own. Happily all three are individuals who are carving their own paths. I never presumed to tell them what I wanted them to be.

    Beautifully written story. My heart is with you.

    shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Thanks so much, Rochelle. Yes, each of my children have provided personal challenges and great joys. I just said to someone else, it’s amazing any of us moms make it to the other side! I appreciate the lovely support. xo

      Like

  28. jenniesisler says:

    I am unable to have children, but I thought of my sweet little nephew as I read this and can totally identify with the sense of both pride and loss. But I think the good thing is that we never stop needing our mothers as we grow. It’s just the way we need them that changes.

    Like

    • Jennie, what a lovely, heart-felt and deeply personal comment. I really appreciate you reading my work, and then opening up your own story to me. Thanks so much for sharing! Ironically, I am at my nephew’s graduation this weekend. I helped raise him and love him like my own… I believe there are lots of ways in which we mother, nurture and love. I’m so grateful to have him in my life, and I’m so proud of his accomplishment! I know exactly what you mean! 🙂

      Like

  29. That’s beautiful. I remember the horrors of having croup as a kid and having to have a humidifier in my room to make it easier. There sure are a lot of challenges to raising kids but it’s worth it in the end

    Like

  30. subroto says:

    Ah! The sentiments expressed here. Growing up you are enveloped in a mother’s love. You try to do the same for your kids as they grow up, but mom’s are special. 🙂

    Like

  31. Beautiful and touching story.

    Like

  32. rgayer55 says:

    My Dad was fond of saying, “Your kids make you pay for your raising.” I’m very proud of our grown children and we are certainly enjoying the grandkids. This was a very touching post and I don’t think there’s a parent on earth who couldn’t relate. I enjoyed the comments too. Five stars for this one.

    Like

  33. Amy Reese says:

    Oh, very touching and moving, Dawn! Congrats on your sons’ achievements and forward movement! I’m sure it’s another one of those bittersweet times as a parent to see your children move on. I think they will always need you.

    Like

    • Thanks Amy. I’m currently at my nephew’s graduation from college (1 of 4 grads in a month) and it really is amazing how powerful this milestone is! I love that we stay connected, but the relationship matures. Thanks for taking the time. 🙂

      Like

  34. Wow, I love the imagery. Beautiful. Particularly the line, “absorbing your body”.

    Like

  35. Adam Ickes says:

    Nothing quite like the feeling of being helpless with a sick child to take care of.

    Like

  36. Mike Lince says:

    It is easy to imagine wax flowing when we see the frozen drippings. And yet it is static and will remain so if left undisturbed. I can see how the imagery of dripping wax works to represent your son’s life flowing by, even though those priceless memories of his young life in your care remain intact in your mind. I like how sometimes the words seem to flow easily. This piece is a good example. 🙂 – Mike

    Like

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