My Son’s Gift
So see it’s not a music box, I’m not sure what they call these things. Next, to God, the gift is all I have and all I own. I rent my home and sometimes bring up to 20 addicts through it. We stay sober here; often we got through all 12 steps in the big book. This here land, it’s farm property, 367 acres of woods with a dry creek that runs through it. I don’t own it; I’m just renting it for a few years. At night the coyotes howl out here, when the crickets die down in the fall it’s all you can hear outside, it’ll make for a good memory. Memories, maybe that’s all we are doing in this short life, this grace period of sobriety given to us by an all-loving God. For me, we’re just making memories for a better place after this one, maybe that’s all.
My mom gave my boy $40 dollars, and he saved his nickels and dimes so that when my birthday came, 9 years ago he could get me that box. He had his eyes on it for a while. I’ve never owned something like it, something that speaks to me. Something that I want next to me when I die. Something my son sought after, so he could bless his father.
Raising a boy in Alcoholics Anonymous is hard by yourself, maybe the most unselfish thing a man or a woman can do. I wanted to guide him knowing that until this coronary heart disease I have kills me, I’ll be here for him, doing my best. My grandma Deanie once told me that love means protecting someone’s happiness at any cost and that’s what I’ve done. I’ve let people down who I loved so damn much along the way. I just didn’t show up, and thus they’re gone. It’s my fault, my selfishness in protecting this boy or my selfishness in putting him before God and AA turned my soul dark and my mood darker some days. Sometimes the devil is driving that long lack train. We are taught to practice the principles in all our affairs, and when we put our children before AA and God, there are consequences.
Raising my son was fun especially when he would get up early, and I’d still be awake from a night of work. Sometimes I’d just be falling asleep, and I’d hear that little boy waking up, and want to get out of bed and be with him so badly, but I was running a halfway house at the time which was never easy and never kind on the hours. 24-7 that’s what you’d have to be prepared for. The grind, man the grind of helping addicts and alcoholics can wear on a man. Sometimes you get so caught up in it that you forget your problems and to take of yourself or even neglect those that you love the most. My son though well, he always found a way to understand even when it hurt him.
Sage was about 6 or seven, and as I drifted off to sleep after an all-night shift at work I heard him jumping on my bed saying “we get to do it again! We get to do it again!”. I’m just in that comfortable place somewhere between dreaming and awake, and he won’t stop. “we get to do it again! “We get to do it again!” Now I’m getting annoyed, and the jumping just keeps going and going, and the chant keeps building “we get to do it again! We get to do it again!” Finally, I get mad, thinking I forgot I promised him a trip to the beach or fishing at a pond, I sit up on my elbows and yell at that little boy, and I say “What!?!? What Sage?!?!? What do we get to do Again?!?!?” That’s when he got on all fours and put his little face right up to my face held me by the cheeks and said: “Daddy we get to be here.” My son wasn’t talking about being here in that house or going to the beach or fishing no he was talking about being here, on this earth, under this sun, with people we love and sharing this experience. We get to be here, now. My little boy was teaching me. That musical toy stays near my bedside. It stays next to me every night I’ve been gifted to sleep at home; it’ll be buried with me when I leave this earth, it’s the only thing I own, that and this moment. That music box reminds me of my sons enthusiasm for life, it tells of all the lessons he teaches me. My son is a gift from above and he is the greatest teacher and sobriety has given me the eyes to see it.