Officially Out of Hand

For the past five years I’ve been working with a client in Southeast Iowa on a number of scopes that focus on downtown and riverfront revitalization. For those five years, I’ve visited every month for a couple of days, with the odd week-long charrette thrown in. Such a long relationship is atypical for a planning consultant. Most of the time, a consultant comes to town, works for 6 to 9 months, then moves on to the next city and client. Being able to work in one place for so long has been a tremendous blessing. I’ve been given the opportunity to dig deeper into the issues facing the community, and I’ve had time to develop strong relationships with my clients, elected officials, and people throughout the community. 

Last week as I was leaving town to head back to Chattanooga, the community sprung a surprise on me. Under the pretense of walking to take a last look at a project we’re working on, one of my clients friends led me to a street corner where a large group of folks had assembled. As we joined the group, the Mayor pulled out a piece of paper and proceeded to read a proclamation marking March 16, 2016 as Christian Rushing Day. He then also revealed that the street we were on would be renamed in my honor – Rushing Way. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness of those gestures and was almost left speechless (I did manage to string a few sentences together in thanks).

I chose my profession because the work I do is in and of itself a reward. To be acknowledged in such a way by my clients and the community is a blessing beyond what I deserve. There is importance, however, beyond that blessing. The great thing about their gesture is that in addition to face value, it more importantly reflects how much the community values urban design and planning. That, my friends, is a great sign of things to come in the community, and something that makes me very happy. 

With love and gratitude in my heart, it is now safe to say
that the C.Rushing victory lap is officially out of hand.

The weekend was great, and it once again centered on (you guessed it) soccer. Fortunately, the traveling son didn’t have to travel. Our academy hosted the Shamrock Cup here in Chattanooga, which made things much easier for us. The youngest played out at North River, and had a great game. He hustled hard and scored a handful of goals- one being the equalizer just before the final whistle. The oldest had a really good tournament, though his team lost in the finals to our Academy team that is a year older. He too hustled and scored a handful of goals- including a well-taken last second equalizer in the Championship game. The game went to penalty kicks and while he converted his, the team lost 5-4.

Earlier in the tournament, as I was watching from the sidelines, a group of girls about my son’s age posted up next to me. While I was trying to focus on the game, I couldn’t help but overhear what they were saying. The first few minutes was typical ten-year old talk, but their attention eventually turned to the game. “Oh my god, that’s S. Rushing!”, “He’s a really good player”, “He’s really smart”, “His eyes are so blue”, etc, etc, etc. Instead of feeling flattered or proud, I felt an unbidden and irrational surge of jealousy. That’s my boy. Who the hell are these little girls talking about my son? They don’t know him. They never saw him as a baby with stomach issues that threw up everywhere, they didn’t change his diapers, or rock him to sleep, or read him bedtime stories, or fix his boo-boos. They need to go somewhere else and talk about someone else’s kid.

Of course, a wave of shame immediately washed over me for that little train of thought. What a silly and awful reaction. My son is growing up and is becoming his own man. My sentimentality and possessiveness won't change this- and I don't want that to change. I want him to grow and prosper and become his own guy. And seriously, he’s only ten. I’m not supposed to feel like that until the kid hits thirteen, or goes on his first date, or gets his drivers license, or leaves for college, or flies “the nest”. But I suppose that’s the issue.

I probably won't live long enough for him to ditch me in favor of hanging out with his friends, I won't see him in the rear-view mirror after dropping him off at college, I won't see him leave my family to start his own. We are getting closer to the point where goodbye will be goodbye. It seems that my reaction to that fact has been to keep the boys super close and jealously guard my time with them. On the other hand, I want them to grow and be social and spend time with their friends, and spend time alone. Selfishly, however, I want to spend every waking minute with them. I don't want to share him or his brother- they're mine. I know I need to let go and let them be free to be. It's tough to let go, however, when we're closer to the point where letting go is forever.

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