The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

January 11, 2008

Long Distance

Oh boy.

And I do mean boy.

But boy means male, and a boy can be any age, really.

I thought my son, 16, was over his long-distance relationship with a girl who used to go to his school and who moved about seven hours north of here.

In fact, it was only Thursday night that he told me thought he would end it, acknowledging that he thought I was right. That's now changed again because she'll be able to come and visit every once in a while.

I had been gently trying to tell him that, well, long-distance relationships don't work, or at least rarely can.

See, there's this problem.

You can get emotionally attached in a beautiful way. But how can you really know who or what you are getting attached to? I mean, totally?

You're getting attached to something or someone you can't see, can't feel, can't touch.

You can't see their eyes when you say something, you can't be mesmerized or repelled or whatever by their body language and little nuances, can't see how they are at 6 a.m. or 11 p.m. or in between.

Emotional attachments, don't get me wrong, are spectacular. They're the foundation, if they last, for amazing relationships. Those kinds of things can't be denied and they're what we all seek the most, I think.

But emotions are just part of the equation, and even then, they can't be totally believed if they're just by email, text messaging, IM or whatever. There's chemistry and intermingling and other neat stuff that no electronic medium can replicate.

There's a look in the eyes, a recoil to the touch, a turn of the cheek towards or away, a whine or a frown or whatever that makes all the difference...smells, unique features or ways of doing things...

A hand placed on the lover's lap that just isn't visible or possible from hundreds or thousands of kilometres or miles away, no matter how passionate you want to be.

I have had, or have tried to have, such relationships. And the results have been, to use a cliche, close but no cigar.

There's a reason why we are creatures who have evolved things like dances and other social occasions to meet members of the opposite sex (or whatever sex we prefer). It's called reality, which includes using all of our natural senses.

My son's decided that because she can come here and visit a few times, that he won't split with her. He knows what I think, because I've told him, but he's going ahead anyway, which is what I've told him he's got to do.

I want him to learn on his own, without me dictating to him, and I want him to make his own mistakes, if that's what this is, and I think it is. We've gotten past the issue of long-distance telephone bills and that stuff.

Now it's just about him and her. I think he'll eventually figure it out himself, but for now, some girl 700 kms. away is almost all he's thinking about.

There's something lovely about that, but also tragic in the sense that the prospects are dim.

But life's prospects are always dim, if you look at it in a negative way. He will learn. And I want him to learn. And to love.