California Dreamin'

Updated: May 19

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of the moon and love, and the goodness of humankind. The order of the three of these tends to shift around, depending on what’s going on in my life or mind at the time.


For those of you who are astrology followers, we are currently surrounded by a time and space where connecting and sharing from the heart are good for the soul. Communication and sensitivity are shining brightly like the North Star and you might find yourself feeling all the feels lately. I know I sure fall into this group this week.


Many moms say it’s tough when kids leave home, but that happened years ago for me, so you would think I would be immune to any emotions this week as my son packs up his apartment in California, preparing for a move to the East coast. Understandably, he’s been getting a little annoyed with my calls every 48 hours, asking how things are going, much like I used to do when he was just starting his Jr. High English projects the night before they were due.




Things really shouldn’t be any different with this move, since he technically left “home” six years ago - almost as if to give me a taste of my own medicine. At 19 he packed up a U-Haul truck and drove away from the house waving his arm out the open window almost as if he were in a parade - exactly like I did to my Mom when I was 19 – poetic justice.



As I sit here looking in my rearview mirror there are so many unfulfilled expectations over the last six years. There was my fantasy of extended weekend beach visits and popping over for a quick dinner on a one-hour flight. And my thoughts of having him here for every holiday quickly diminished as soon as life got in the way. “Maybe next time,” became our mantra and it wasn’t long before I felt like I was living out a mom version of “Cats in the Cradle,” but the only thing getting in the way was our priorities.


So, as it turns out, this move is much harder than anticipated … for me, anyway. We met for dinner this week and it was just a nice sweet time. He was wearing his “new” glasses, with the John Lennon frames. They used to be his Dad’s the year before he knocked on heaven’s door. I swear he looked so damn much like him it almost hurt.


Yes, this move is testing the weight of my heart strings. I’ve always wondered about the saying “Don’t let your heart rule your head.” But why not? Why wouldn’t I want to feel all that there is to feel? This is no time to logically process how smart this is or how pragmatic his relocation is. This is a time to feel whatever I want – pride, nostalgia, melancholy, pain, grief, and somewhere underneath of everything – the joy that he so richly deserves.


This dream has been a long time coming. It was 11 years ago that his Dad and I were taking a walk in California of all places, the day he took his last breath. He was busy chatting about how stressful his job was at the time and how regretful he was that he didn’t follow his dreams. He made it a point to say he wanted his son to do that - to do what he didn’t get to do. And so, 11 years later this East Coast move is just another part of his journey and only my son knows where his path leads.


When I left dinner that night I managed a rare two hugs before he walked off to fetch his car from the lot across the street. As I waited on the sidewalk, I thought about how I wished I had done this a lot more, but how happy I was that I was here now.


As it started to rain, his silver Ford turned my way. When I saw his face, I noticed his ear-to-ear smile that showed his dimples – the kind of smile I only saw about once a year. In my mind’s eye I could picture him when he was eight with his buddy Tyler, eating Pop Tarts and giggling at the kitchen counter.


A moment later he stuck his arm out the window as he drove away, waving back at me just like he did six years ago - off to live his purpose and make meaningful music.


I climbed in the car with a huge knot in my throat that nothing could untie. I was thinking about his dream and wondering where his road would take him next.


Shelli Netko (c) 2018

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