Notes to My Son: 2002 Diary Entry - Meeting Mike

08 Aug 2002
Pat is only days away from officially being a teen-ager.  This morning we got up at 4:30 to get Ben to the airport for a 6:30 flight.  And later today Pat and I should be seeing Mike Shannon.  Pat for the first time, of course. I’m thinking that I’ll ask Mike to meet me for a few minutes before he and Pat meet.  It would be strange to see each other after thirteen years and all that has gone on with someone else that we both have to relate to in different ways.  Anyway, I’m simply following my path.  

I should be writing also.  I’m beginning to think that work is bugging me so much…not because I’m supposed to leave, but because I’m supposed to focus on my true mission at this point and that is to write.  I really like that Ray Bradbury book “Zen and the Art of Writing”.  I hear it.
It’s not as though I have fiction in my head that needs to get out.  But it’s as though my life has been a novel that I have to get out.  For a while I think I was too worried about structure.  Like I had to make an outline, know where I was going.  Have it all make sense.  But now I’m concentrating on the idea of episodes that may not fall in a time sequence.  And mixing up kinds of writing…because I really do like to write poems.  Every once in awhile they just come out of me….whether or not they’re good.  That I can’t think about.  My fingers vibrate on the keys of the old BCBSMT laptop that I brought home just for the writing.
Just heard on NPR that Arthur Miller has written a new play called “Resurrection Blues”.  He’s 86.  This is his first farce. “Death of a Salesman” had a farcical side too. Miller talked about the absolute lack of authenticity in our world. He said he feels like he’s poised on the edge of something. This was one of the most important things I’ve heard in a long time. I feel the same thing that Arthur Miller feels. It would be hard to be in a more perceptive group.
I work almost exclusively with guys.  Yesterday a group of them were talking about a meeting they had just attended and the leader described their approach as having “just stuck it to ‘em.”   And another member of the group describes it further by saying…”with very little Vaseline.”   Hearing that felt violent.  I have to make a list of all the sexual things that have happened to me at work…by bosses.
Sometimes, for sudden fleeting moments I feel so grateful for my life. It’s not like heart pounding joy, gut-twisting fear, or the vacancy of sorrow.  It’s feeling the utter stillness of the very middle, the center. Each is a reflection of the all.
10 Aug 2002
Well, Pat and Mike have met. What an Irish thing to say.  They walk alike.  For some reason, it never registered with me that a person’s gait could also be an inherited trait.  I first saw it as one with Evan and his mother Nancy.  One day, I thought, “Something about the way Evan walks reminds me of someone". Then the next time I saw Nancy, something about her walk caught my attention and I saw that she and Evan walk alike.  Well, Pat and Mike walk alike too.  Pat is loose and comfortable in his body and so is Mike, but the walk is distinct.  There is resemblance in the eyes. And Mike did an eye roll that Pat often does.  I’d like to see a picture of Mike when he was Pat’s age. Also…I have to say that it’s kind of hard to wrap my mind around the reality of their connection. There is no mistaking that it’s a genetic, biological thing.
A thought that occurred a little while ago was about my experience with seeing men cry…. I know this touched Mike in a big way and seeing the tears well up brought to mind the memory of seeing my own father with obvious tears in the eyes.  And I realized that I had never seen his mother, my grandmother, cry the same way.  It occurred to me that I had seen my father shed more tears than I saw shed amongst all of the Butte Irish women combined.  

Pat is excited in a deep, quiet way.  It was a good thing for him to meet Mike.  Pat even said this himself…a comment that just came out of him when we were talking about telling Mary.  He was singing all the way home from Glacier. Without being questioned, he said he was singing because he felt happy.  Even aside from Mike, I do think that Pat feels he has a safety net in the world. I grew up with the feeling and I believe people who know that feeling will always be able to find a center of meaning in themselves that lets them take flight in the world.