I pull the car right up in front and he sees me as he files out of school with the rest of his class. He reaches for the back door, opens it, flings his backpack on the seat and scoots in next to it.
"Hi, honey, how was your day?" I ask, same as always.
Usually he says "Good." For all of September he said, "I'm tired," or even "Stressful," and the worst one, "Today was a day of hell." The last couple of days he's come home nearly skipping, with an excited look on his face, and answered, "Great!"
"Can we go to Trader Joe's and buy more spinach pizzas?" he asks.
"Sure," I say, "I was just waiting to go until I picked you up so we could go together."
"Mom?" he says, and I prepare to receive his verbal list of all the other things he wants at Trader Joe's. But instead he says, "Why do I have braces? Why am I growing up? Why am I stressed out? Why am I not with you?"
Then he moves on to the verbal list.
"Mom, we need fruit leathers, too. And veggie sticks. And butter. We are almost out of butter."
For weeks I've been tossing and turning over what's going on with him and what I can do about it. I had come to the same conclusion he had: he was struggling with his braces, with growing up, with stress, and perhaps most of all, with separating from me. Not just transitioning from the summer to the school year, but from childhood to adulthood.
Today is my dad's birthday, October 8th. He would be 88 today, and that's something worth noting.
I looked up the numerology of 8, and it was my dad to a "t."
* "More than most people, your failures in marriage can be extremely expensive for you."
* "Although jovial in nature, you are not demonstrative in showing your love and affection. The desire for luxury and comfort is especially strong in you. Status is very important."
* "Your Life Path treads that dangerous ground where power and corruption lie. You may become too self-important, arrogant, and domineering, thinking that your way is the only way. This leads inevitably to isolation and conflict."
* "The people you run the risk of hurting the most are those you love: your family and friends."
* "Be careful of becoming too stubborn, intolerant, overbearing and impatient."
As astute readers of this blog have pointed out, an 8 on its side is the symbol of infinity, too.
There is a oneness being played out between my dad, son and me. The little boy I was carrying while my dad lay dying, is the boy that will work in his lifetime to break patterns, to heal the past and prepare for the future.
And I am in between, taking this boy with an obsession with the number 8 (remember the Target story?) to wherever it is he is going to go in life. Along his path. Healing my dad's path, and reframing mine.
* Information from www.ofesite.com
* Photo from write.demandstudio.com