I rose early this morning. Six fifteen to be exact. My middle son is trying out for the under sixteen Irish Basketball Team and had to be in Waterford (the other end of the country) by one p.m. He was getting a ride from another parent and his son, who is also trying out. I woke my sprawl of a child from his tousled bed and proceeded to make him a Blueberry/Banana Smoothie....which he downed in a couple of seconds, it seems. Apparently, there was a plan to stop for Breakfast enroute. I proceeded to flap around him like a mother bird caring for her fledglings, despite his adolescent insistence that he could manage and that I should return to my nice warm bed and leave him be. Yes, he said he had all his gear, the change of socks, the bottles of water, the gear bag packed and ready and so we ended up sitting together at the end of the stairs and waited for the car lights (it was still dark outside) to pull into the driveway. The ride was running late and our conversation was little because of the early hour and so we both just sat, squeezed together on the step in a comfortable camaraderie. The wind howled beyond the glass and the rain pelted down. I don't know why but I put my hand on his back and started to pat it. He seemed so grown up for a minute and for the first time he appeared to be more of a friend to me than the son he has been. He admitted that he was nervous about all the drills and that he doubted if he could remember them. It has been awhile since the last trial. I said not to worry, to enjoy himself, to pretend he was playing at the hoop out in the yard on a summers day with the smell of dinner wafting from the BBQ. He didn't reply. And then he was gone off with a close of the door out into the dark and the unknown and I said wear your seatbelt and watch yourself. I think about him all day. About where he is and how he is doing. I think about that constant memory I have and wonder if its real or imagined. A day on a beach. Not a busy beach so its possibly a September beach. The smell is wonderful, steeped in seaweed and salt, clean and autumnal. It is warm too. My legs are spread out and bare, my toes dug into the sand. The feeling is carefree and time is of no consequence. Two of my sons are standing beside me looking out to the water. The tide is out, way out and so it is a fair walk to reach the shore. They are excited, they skip from one bare foot to another. Their hair shines with summer blond streaks. They have buckets and spades in their hands. And then without a word to me they start to run toward the water, so light is their movement that their feet hardly touch the sand. The water looks scrunched up from where I sit, gleaming and dazzling with its glare and I have to put my hand across my brow to see them, to try and stop the shimmer distorting my view. They keep on running. I keep watching them. Watch them running away to their lives. Running away from me to a sea where often the depth cannot be measured and the tide is not always predictable.