Vail Daily column: Harder than I expected
May 29, 2017
I enjoy talking into a microphone and having people listen, or at least pretend to.
Sure, I suppose it's an ego thing, of sorts, but whether on the radio or a stage or walking through a crowd, I'm not nervous but instead love the rush of having to think fast and never allowing for any "dead air."
I guess everyone has a little bit o' Trump in them at times.
Up until last Friday night at the Vail Mountain School graduation dinner, I was pretty good at it, too, or at least thought I was.
Within two or three minutes of blasting through a well-rehearsed speech as I wandered through the crowd of 355 parents and students (in two rooms, thus the wandering), I suddenly saw one too many students looking directly at me, and then it hit.
The emotions slammed into me like skiing over a large rake while carving down Riva; I was mentally stopped dead in my tracks.
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I had known some of those faces since they were in kindergarten, and the abrupt feelings of my youngest moving on with the rest of them was overwhelming.
I didn't physically freeze, but my mental train came flying off the tracks, my thoughts more jumbled than anything Bob Dylan has sung in the past three decades.
My audience was lost, so I quickly stumbled through the final bits and started the senior video, which thankfully lasted long enough for the crowd to completely forget about the idiot with the mic and enjoy their dinner.
But on the inside I was a mess.
The next morning is when it really, truly hit.
The house was empty, my wife shopping with her mom and the new graduate still enjoying the moment elsewhere.
I walked into his bedroom, oblivious to the standard mess of dirty clothes mixed with clean ones, and stood there, and started bawling like a third-grader whose feelings were hurt because someone called him a bad name.
I couldn't stop.
To top it off, it was raining outside, which drowned my self-pity mood even deeper.
Yes, I know, poor, poor Richard; poor little me.
Careers had stolen the early years from his older brothers, so his mom and I sold all businesses requiring employees the year he was born (1999) with the main intent of "being there" for him throughout his childhood. We would be home every morning when he left for school and every afternoon when he returned, but only on the days we were not driving both ways.
We attended every soccer game, ski race, theater performance and anything else connected to his life.
And now it is done.
No more school, grades, kids' birthday parties, homework to help with, ski races, soccer games, plays — none of it, ever again.
I had no flippin' idea it would be this painful.
Later that afternoon, I joined my wife and my 88-year-old mom-in-law down at the Gore Range Brewery for a few brews and dinner. The conversation with loved ones was exactly what I needed to get my head back on straight, so I'm all better now.
But hey, thanks for listening.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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