August 13, 2010

Travels with Sam

Posted in Children, Family, Travel tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:47 am by Liliana

Sam - taking a break in Boston

Sam - taking a break in Boston

Sam and I spent a lot of time together this past week as we drove to Boston to help Mike and Karen move. I was taken aback by how much he has grown and changed this past summer.

I thought I knew everything about my youngest son. But in the tireless activity that has been our lifestyle the past year, I have missed the delicate signs of maturation that take time and close attention to recognize.

Sam drove most of the long way to Boston. Sometimes we listened to music that he loves. He told me stories about old rappers like Tupac and 50 Cent. Sometimes I told him family stories about people he never met. Sometimes we talked about history, war, the Russians, Napoleon, Stalin, Pat Tillman. Sometimes we drove in silence.

Sam worked hard helping with the move. Together with Mike he carried heavy furniture, boxes of books, kitchen paraphernalia, computers, suitcases. He spent hours helping Karen assemble IKEA furniture and I watched in wonder as he figured out how those complicated schematics fit together in three dimensional space. He worked with Karen to refinish a desk that has been her grandmothers, and that Mike will be using to work on.

I didn’t know Sam could do all that.

We didn’t just work. We spent hours walking, exploring the city, visiting colleges, eating.

Eating! These are some of the foods we ate: Southern Barbecue, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian. One night Sam ordered two lobsters, ate them both, and then finished Mike’s leftover cheeseburger. He is a growing boy all right.

But what impressed me most is Sam’s generosity. For his birthday last year, Sam got a present he dearly prized – a droid cell phone. He loved that thing, but when Mike asked if he’d be willing to trade with him for his (ordinary) phone, Sam did. He gave it some thought, he struggled to decide, but in the end, he not only gave the phone to Mike, he taught him how to use it.

On the way back to Michigan, Sam and I got stuck in terrible traffic, got lost in Buffalo, experienced rain and bad weather. We argued and got mad at each other because he wanted to drive straight through and I wanted to spend the night at a hotel.

But after we stopped, ate, rested and talked, we were on good terms again. We spent the evening at a tiny movie theater across the street from our hotel – watching Inception for the second time. We both loved it more (and understood it better) than the first time.

We slept through the night, woke up refreshed, had breakfast and got back on the road. Sam drove most of the way home.



  1. Dave Harrison said,

    It is truely hard to see the growing right in front of your face. At least you still have him at home mine are both gone and I don’t get to see that maturity till I spend some time with them and all of a sudden it hits you they’ve grown and don’t need you for everything anymore.
    I’m hoping this is a good thing even though there’s a hole in my heart where they both were for years when I think it may be months before I see them again. I guess I still have empty nest syndrum, even though I know they’re both doing very well with life.

    • Liliana said,

      Oh, Dave, I completely understand. That’s the complexity of being a parent – we prepare them for life and they don’t need us any more. That’s when we know we’ve done the job right.

      But when I think of my own mother, and all the love she gave me, I know that my own children will feel the same about me. So, really, in all works out beautifully.

  2. I read some of your excellent blog after seeing the link to it in a comment you made in an Atlantic Monthly article about someone’s experience as his father’s caregiver. I am curious about why you started it and if you find it helpful to express yourself in this way, in particular, about health issues. I am doing a research project on why people write blogs about their diagnosis and treatment, hence my question.

    • Liliana said,

      Hi Lisa,
      I started my blog because it seems to me like a good way to communicate some of my thoughts and ideas.

      I love to write. I am fifty years old. I have experienced a lot. I felt I had something to say.

      Blogging also allows me to communicate with my own children, family and friends and tell them stories without lecturing and boring them to tears.

      I come from a family of storytellers. This seemed a good way to continue the tradition.
      My best to you,

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