I have not yet decided whether to give my son his diaries for his 20th birthday, as he requested. I'm still sorting it out. Right here. Right now.
And I'm not the only one dealing with resistance to the idea. My husband, when I told him that my son had asked, said:
"He asked for his diaries?"
"His diaries? You're sure. . . ?"
"But I haven't even read them!"
If I needed evidence of the power of my diary writing in my family, my son's request has certainly prompted this awareness to surface.
"What if he loses them? Wrecks them?" my husband asked, seriously concerned.
"Maybe you should make copies," he suggests, as if this is somehow practical.
"It's a lot of diaries." And I add, "We could give them to him in a strong box. . . " as if this would be practical.
We are riding down the highway in the darkened car having this conversation. My husband is driving. It's late and dark and quiet and ike the night he proposed to me. In the car, while driving. It is that intimate. We knew we were having a son together. This son, who is turning 20 on Sunday.
We are not just talking about how to let go of the diaries.
We are talking about how to let go of our son.
What will he do with this life of his own?
Will he take care of it AS CAREFULLY as we've tried to?
Can't we keep him in a strong box?
You'll have to excuse me now while I . . . well. . . you know. . . weep. . .