HALF A HEART

        “…Being here without you
        Is like I’m waking up to
        Only half a blue sky
        Kind of there but not quite
        Walking round with just one shoe
        I’m half a heart without you…”

She dropped me at Hopkins Saturday, bright and early. Small talk in an idled car was followed by a kiss (or two) goodbye. Stepping from the car, moving to United’s door I looked back. Like I always do.

How simpler would it be if my kids lived here. Think of it: the whole fam damily in northeast Ohio. (Ed. Note 1: Not that they’d be happier here. Truth is each had outgrown what one still terms a “cow town”. Indeed, parental heeding that they not forget their beginnings —that, moreover, their roots positioned them for whatever successes they have might bear more credence if 80% of their graduating classes hadn’t left town). Alas, if I want to see my progeny in any manner other than Facebook, I must travel. And inevitably, while Carrie accompanies me half the time, and while I embrace I do one-on-one sessions with my children —when I fly solo…I’m out of sync.

        “…I’m half a man at best
        With half an arrow in my chest
        I miss everything we do
        I’m half a heart without you…”

“How’s married life?” I get asked. “Great” I’ve answered since August. (Ed. Note 2: Typically and immediately (if I think they REALLY want to know) I supplement my response with “Better than I expected. As good as things were, it’s actually enhanced our dynamic”). Little wonder then that on this recent trip, my first post-wedding trek to see grandkids — I missed my best friend. The rhythm of our life just borders on epic.

Our balance in Cleveland works. She has her time; I have my time. Both of us, however, prefer our time.

She has her grandkids and volunteering; I have my work and my nonsense. And together… we have each other

“Honeymoon over yet?” people wonder. “Bet the ‘over’”, I say.

Not that we can’t survive without each other. We can, we do, and we thrive. Embarrassed I’m not, though, to tell you that when she’s the first one I see in the morning and the last smile I see at night there’s more bounce in my step.

“Make sure you tell everyone I said hello” she reminded.
“Can you take Aunt Helen food Sunday?” I urged plaintively.

Waking Sunday to the chatter of brothers down the hall, I joined in. From the couch I watched Max on his Ipad as Eli banged drums. In Cleveland she was … with Charles Osgood and CBS. Was she having our traditional lox, eggs and spinach without me? So be it.

“Let’s have a band together” I exclaimed. “Max, you can be the front man”.
Eli beamed while Max just nodded.
“I can get music for us,” said the five year-old approaching.
(Ed. Note 3: The younger one had an epiphany. Abruptly he’d dropped his drumstick and was now schlepping a heavy metal guitar ‘cross the room).

Let the clanging begin! How great was their symphony? I wish she could see it!

We don’t talk during the day, generally, when I’m visiting family. It’s texts here and there and “Good night” calls like clockwork. My focus, as it should be, is on the children.

And yet …

Came the time to go home. Monday morning it was, and Yes, bright and early we drove to La Guardia.

“Make sure you tell Carrie we missed her,” urged Caryn.
“Kiss Stuart for me,” said I.

Stepping from the car, heading to United’s door I kept walking. Michael and Meredith…Eli and Max… the kids were all right and it was time to go home.

She was there when I landed. Of course she was.

“How’s Eli feeling?” she asked me. “How is Max?”
“Let me call Aunt Helen first,” I told her. “We’ll get her food on the way.”

— And then, as we always do, we hit for the cycle:

We telephoned Helen, spoke of New York, picked up my mail and then headed home….

Where both of us —casually — turned off our phones.

       “…Cause I miss everything we do
        I’m half a heart without you….”

One Direction

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