I drive out onto the highway and approach "gone-away"* with trepidation, actually wondering, if just for a moment, that it might not be there. It was still there, waiting. Yes, that is how uncertain the events of life have made me; I actually felt as though it were possible that one day i will drive by this sacred hill and it will be gone. Or is it that it has become a symbol of my burden and i wish it gone?
I prefer to think it's like that old building in your neighbourhood, the one you are used to seeing since your youth, finding strange comfort in its existence even though you never stepped foot in it. Or perhaps your grandmother's house that one day gets torn down and its shocking absence rocks your perception of reality until you realize that the world is moving without you, that really nothing is sacred. Or that the only stable thing is change.
It seems change requires courage and taking major decisions that effect change that i made years ago appear to me to have been made by a person full of courage. Not the person i am today, driving.
When my eldest son was eight he still hadn't learned to ride his bicycle. He is stubborn. He refused to give in, stood his ground. "I don't want to learn!". I suppose the crash into the dumpster at age six rattled him more than I was willing to admit.
But that takes courage, not to learn to ride a bicycle.In face of friends zooming around the village. Obstinance is not the ability to resist change it is the courage not to change, you could say.
But normally change requires courage; the courage to know that when you feel you have become the world's greatest authority in your son's care, to say, wait a minute something is wrong with that. The courage to continue to seek out more specialists more treatments, to truly listen and consider what others say and to admit, if only to yourself, that you had it wrong.
Change is there. You must see it. The moment you see your sick, decrepit invalid child as static then you are losing the battle, you have lost sight of the one thing that gives you strength, the one thing that helps: things change. The more you are able to be aware of change, or differences, in your child the better you can catalogue what is normal and good for him/her.
And for that you need courage because after the 43rd time you have done suction today you cannot hesitate going into the 44th. Each moment builds to the next.
My eldest son learned to ride his bicycle. Sometimes things need to percolate a while. Sometimes you drive by a hill and think, is it possible it won't be there? But it is there. It is there to remind me that i made a good investment all those years ago in ascribing to it mythical qualities. It has become a symbol of my determination and I know that if i ever have doubts, all I need to do, is to go and drive by.
*Gone-away is a hill christened by me, an attempt to create a bridge between a mythical yet real place for my kids. When Segev was born, living in the hospital it was decided that i would do the research to help Segev and his mother would care for him in hospital. Each morning i brought my other two children to kindergarten passing by this hill and we would listen to Joanne Shenandoah sing "gone-away". My daughter, just three, asked me what is she saying and I said "Gone away."
"What's gone-away Daddy?" she asked.
"That is the place, like that hill there, where you can go to and be alone and think of far-away places."
I've always promised myself I will take the kids, with Segev to the top of that hill, to celebrate his birthday.