Our son returns today from a three week trip to China. He loves to travel, and this trip, with his aunts, cousins and uncles, has been no different. We have Skyped with him three times, but only two really count due to a rural location for him and a bad Internet during one session. (It was like talking to Neil Armstrong on the moon!) He has sent a few emails from his aunt’s computer, but mostly it has been radio silence from him.
His smiles on the phone screen have been radiant as he shares stories and jokes. Pixelated conversations are hard, and when he tried to show us photographs on his camera through the computer call, it was all blurry.
Time is flying by for this kid, our only child. His last two years of high school start in a month, he got his first “real” job this summer, he now plans his own volunteering, he is learning to drive, and three weeks of travel away from us had him smiling on Skype two days ago.
Since he was small, I have jumped upon his times away from home as perfect chances for me to tidy up his things. He does a pretty good job of keeping his things in order, but the crevices, containers and dump bins need the occasional scrubbing.
A few days ago, I hit the mother lode. In the “Potential To Make The Mom Cry” category, this find was in the Top Five. Squirreled way in the bottom of a drawer were his business cards. The business cards he made for himself when he must have been five years old.
I remember the day he came home from visiting my mother and had the paint samples in his tiny hands. They had been to Home Depot, and he had scored a few freebies in the paint department. I remember remarking about them and asking what he was going to do with them – and why there were so many. I probably sprinkled in a little bit of “waste” and “these things cost money,” and then we moved on. I never saw them again after that discussion.
In my mind’s eye, I can see him in his little denim overalls and bright T-shirt reaching for the ones he liked best. Taking a moment to choose correctly. Possibly being limited by what he could reach. Maybe asking for help. He is still a child that loves all colors, and I can imagine this whole process was magical.
I took pictures of each of the cards today, and, when I loaded them onto the computer, I stopped to look at them all. To mourn the passing of his little script forced from pudgy hands. To grieve the little bit of tongue he stuck out past his lips while accomplishing difficult tasks. What struck me deeply was how, on each card, he played with the graphic design. I noticed how each card is different while the copy is almost the same. Initials vs. full name? Three initials or four? The battle was most likely epic with his tongue taking most of the punishment.
To this mom, the discovery in my own home was perfect. Just what I needed to remind me that, since he was born, he has been moving away from us. He has been moving towards new adventures. New places. New people.
And on this day, with this collection of evidence, I realized he was moving toward a career even at five years old. He even took the time to make business cards.
p.s. A few years ago I cleaned a closet in his room while he was away. Click here to see what happened.