The son has arrived

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, June 30, 2015 9:24 PM

I remember one evening when Justin was little. It was before he lived with us, and he had come for his monthly visit. We had moved into the house in Oak Park but we hadn’t yet done any of the remodeling we would eventually do. There was still carpet throughout the house. He was lying on the floor, on his back, next to the bottom of the stairs, staring up at the ceiling. Maguire was on the floor next to him, watching his little friend, wanting to play but knowing enough to wait. I was in the kitchen. I think Kevin was with me. We were preparing dinner.

From the other room we heard these words: “This is a really nice house.”

It was a nice house. It was a tract home, just 1700 square feet but with a fairly open floor plan that was perfect for the four of us. Even though Justin wasn’t yet there full time, he still lived there. His room was there, all of his toys, his stuff. A special loft bed that Kevin had made specifically to give him more room to play on the floor beneath.

Today he came home from the road. He’s been traveling the country with Disney’s Frozen on Ice tour, hopping from city to city to city, a few days here or there, before boarding a bus or a plane to go to the next destination. He’s home for nine days and then he jets off to Mexico City to begin the next leg, the Western leg, of the tour. He loves it. At 24, he’s the perfect age for it.

We don’t see him much anymore, which is to be expected. As parents, our job was to raise him to be able to leave us and become a contributing member of society. We talk on the phone occasionally; we text. He’s working in a career that he loves, in a career that he went to school for. Not as many people can say that today as did, perhaps, once upon a time. He’s lucky. More than that, he’s talented. He’s good at what he does.

He walked in the house today, the new house and stood in the foyer. Grinning.

“Nice house,” he said as he wrapped me up in a big bear hug.  

Yesterday it rained. Actually, it monsooned. For the better part of an hour, it poured as the wind blew, the cactus groaned and the water made rivets in the ground. We stood on the deck and watched, the rain dusting our legs. When it finally stopped, the clouds were still heavy, drifting high above and toward the west. We poured a glass of wine and sat down in our new Adirondack chairs. The sky was gray. We didn’t expect to see the sun, but just before 7:30, the horizon began to glow red. Soon, the sky was bathed in deep oranges and purples, a blood-red vein ran through a thunderous cloud.

The sun had arrived.

Today, the sunshine of our lives arrived, bringing with him laundry, items for storage, a receding hairline and a smile as bright as any desert day. Life is good.

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