Friday, June 30, 2006

a moment in time

It's almost been a year now. Funny how one moment in time can affect every other moment that comes after it so profoundly. I remember the night before my son's life changed forever. It was a Friday, and for some strange reason I was sitting home alone watching a movie, something I rarely do. But I remember the movie, an 80's fairytale in reverse called "Maid to Order". I think Ally Sheedy played the lead character, the spoiled and self-willed daughter of a multimillionaire who got into trouble one too many times, causing her father to wish she had never been born. Enter Beverly DeAngelo as the Fairy Godmother from hell, granting a father's wish unbeknownst to him and his daughter. Suddenly the daughter found herself in prison, picked up for a DUI, and there was no one at the other end of the phone. She had no license, no credit cards, no identity. Everything that gave her identity, linking her to a loving father and home, was wiped out in one moment. My son came in while the movie was playing, watched for a short, fidgety few minutes, and left the house, basically to not return for 6 years.

I've thought about that night over and over again. What if I had asked him to stay with me and ordered a pizza? What if I had shut off the tv and talked to him? Were the events that followed that night inevitable and the result of too many bad choices? Does God, fate, something, like that Fairy Godmother, step in and say "enough" after things go on way too long? What about "just that one time"? In the movie, Ally Sheedy became the only white maid in California and was humbled to appreciate what she had. But the most poignant moments were those where she saw her father and he did not know who she was. In the end her greatest desire was to be reunited with her father. And her salvation was to give up the thing she desired most for the sake of someone else. At that moment all was as it should be. I guess I keep wondering what it takes for the prodigal to return home.


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