Kyle and I had visited Arizona during the winter break of 1998, as we often did during school breaks. As we finished helping Jaichima and Rutury with a ceremony at their Retreat Center that honored and celebrated the New Year of 1999, we walked to the car through hundreds of lighted luminarias. Kyle put his arm around me and thanked me for bringing him. I agreed that it was a nice Christmas gift. He said, “You give me what’s important. My dad just gives me stuff.” In that moment I knew that I did not have to worry about Kyle being able to discern. He knew/knows what the important things in life are.
The day before we left Arizona to return to Napa, Kyle asked if we could look at a little house that we had driven by every day that was for sale. It was located just at the rise in the road that gave us a view of the Verde Valley and where each day as we drove into the light of the rising sun, we yelled, “Good morning, Arizona!” I agreed to look at it out of curiosity; since my income was based in my private practice and teaching at a school in California, I was in no position to afford a house in a different state where I had no immediate income.
We loved it immediately. It was just perfect for us. Without my knowing it, Kyle went out in to the yard and did a little ceremony for connecting to the land that he had heard Jaichima talk about. When we got in the car to drive away, he handed me a fist-sized rock that he’d taken from the garden. I said it was stealing, and that he needed to put it back. He replied that it wasn’t, he was borrowing it because the house would be ours someday. He told me to keep my left foot on it as I drove home and stay grounded with the house. He stated that if I could move to Arizona he would come, too, and then he wouldn’t have to deal with living in two places any more. My heart sank and I started sobbing. Here was my child asking me for help that I could not give him.
The Universe works in very loving and mysterious ways. With no logic to it at all, a friend in Napa stepped up to lend me the money and I became the owner of the little Arizona house in March of 1999. During that couple of months, my clients and students began to use words to describe me that I never would have thought could fit my personality: words like serene and calm-spirited. At first, I thought it was funny to hear people say those things about me. (My strong Aries nature did not mesh with the word serene.) I thought, “If only they knew about the turmoil going on inside me.” And then I realized that I was feeling the pattern of my own history. I had been in turmoil for so long that I was assuming that I still was supposed to be there. It took me awhile to understand that I had to let go of the turmoil in order to be free to become myself, my true nature. Only then could I support Kyle through the transition. Everyone else was seeing me in a way that I was not. Sometimes we are the last to know.
Once the house was truly mine, I asked for an appointment for Kyle, Mike and I with the court-appointed evaluator. I went in first, explained what had happened in Arizona over the holiday, and told her that I had the house. Until that point, Kyle had no idea about what had been going on with the house, and I wanted her to tell Kyle so that she could see his immediate reaction. I smiled when I heard Kyle’s loud whoop come from behind the closed door when she told him, and knew we were on our way. Mike then joined them while I waited out in the lobby, and the evaluator had Kyle tell him about the house and his desire to move to Arizona with me.
I don’t know why I thought that it would be cut and dry from that point. I guess I just thought that Kyle’s wishes would be heard and honored. I guess I thought that Mike would follow through on the understanding he showed when I finally joined them in the office and we all four discussed how the transition would work. It was not to be. When Mike and I met with the evaluator the next day, without Kyle, he was back to his mean and nasty new-self, full of threats and legal action. I fired my lawyer that day. I would not fight any more legal battles, and I had told this to Kyle when we were in Arizona. If he wanted to move with me, he would have to stand up for himself and get the evaluator to see that and support him. But if Mike wanted to pull any more legal maneuvers, he would have to deal with me directly. It had obviously been too easy for him to tell lies to his lawyer and then sign a piece of paper to be delivered to my lawyer. From that point on, if he was going to lie, he’d have to do it to my face. Mike continued to prevent Kyle from moving with me, but the custody was changed so that Kyle had all his vacations with me. Once again, for Kyle’s ultimate sake, and spiritual safety, I had to cause upheaval in his life. I made the greatest leap of faith I have ever had to make. Knowing deep in my heart and soul that he would ultimately follow me, I left Kyle in Napa and moved to Arizona.
Kyle came with me during the Spring Break in April to help move in, and then returned to Napa for the rest of the school year. After I took him to the airport in Phoenix, I celebrated my forty-eighth birthday alone in my new house with the knowing that Kyle would someday find his way there. Jaichima taught me a ceremony to do for Kyle’s well-being and protection. Each day I lit a candle and did the ceremony. Each week I went to Jaichima’s Retreat Center and did another ceremony at the sacred fire. Jaichima and Rutury did ceremonies as well, and we all maintained a strong bond and field of strength on Kyle’s behalf. We never interfered with his process; we only supported him in it.
Kyle returned to Arizona for the summer and by August it was clear that he did not want to go back to Napa, but he was obligated to do so. When I visited him in Napa on his thirteenth birthday in October, Kyle again made the statement that he wanted to live with me. I told him that he had to make it happen, that I was not going to go to court or fight any more. I did find a new therapist for him, one that I knew I could trust to give Kyle support. I knew that the request to leave had to come from Kyle; that it was— and had to be— between son and father. I said that I would come and get him as soon as he had his father’s permission to leave.
This was a painful period for Kyle. His repeated declaration to Mike was met with anger, blame, bribery, silence and ridicule, each in its turn. He was calling me as many as fourteen times a day to seek support. By Winter Break of 1999, the process had been in motion for a year, and Kyle still hadn’t received permission to move. He came down for the allotted two weeks, and after we went to Mexico for a few days with some friends, he went to do a three-day Millennium Ceremony with Jaichima and Rutury. I did not go along with him for the specific reason that I wanted to give him the opportunity to meet his spirit without any guidance or reliance upon his parent. I knew he’d be guided by his godparents and watched by some of my friends who were there, and that he would be safe. He would be supported. And, at thirteen, he would go through his initiation under the guidance of teachers that we both loved and trusted.
His transformation was amazing and beautiful. He didn’t talk about what happened, and I didn’t ask. We both knew how sacred ceremony can be and that sacred is most often held close to the heart and spirit; at the very least, it is very personal and not always to be shared readily. Besides, I didn’t need to know what happened, I could see the results. Kyle was self-assured and connected. He literally glowed from within. His self-esteem was soaring! He knew that he knew. He did not question it.
I put him on the plane back to Napa the next day. As I drove home that evening I saw a huge shooting star streak across the sky as though it were going from Phoenix to Napa. The flight to Sacramento was as long as the drive home, and by the time I got there Kyle was calling for me to come and get him. Kyle had found the way to talk to Mike that came from his discernment, his decision, his finding his strength of spirit, and his coming to terms with his life, and Mike was smart enough to let him go.