A Dad’s Thoughts
As he spreads his strawberry jam on his toast this morning, I look at him and think — seven minutes to the end of breakfast, a hundred breakfasts to the end of childhood.
And I love him…
This swiftly coming September, his place will be empty and unsticky, and he will be licking from his fingers the strawberry jam of independence.
And I miss him…
His sapling mind is rooted in the unsentimental present. He is revving up for flight. Like the generations before him, from the feet of Socrates to the backfield of Notre Dame, he will be a college man.
And I am so proud of him…
Wait a minute – where have all the breakfasts gone? The bedtime stories, the birthday cakes, the soccer balls and baseballs, the hiking boots, the facts of life, the SAT’s, the concerto duo of he and his friend, the Ensemble Concerts and the plays in which he performed?
We have eaten 15,000 meals together – why can I only remember half a dozen?
What has been the rush?
I remember his first ride on a bicycle and his first on a roller coaster. I’ll never forget teaching him to
drive, encouraging him to learn to dance.
I remember explaining to him why he couldn’t be allowed to do something for well over two hours
(when he was still very young) – and, in spite of trying to have him understand my reasons, I had
to tell him “because I said so.”
Where are the Tuesdays? The Februaries? When was 11 years old? What happened to 1990?
Did we let the rest of it speed away in homework assignments, the purchase of sneakers and vacant Sunday afternoons? Could we have taken more trips to the moon?
So many noises will be erased from the sound track of my house. Duet for muffled telephone conversations, slamming doors, open refrigerator and pre-dawn house key.
For him to see me, from autumn on, will require a decision, an act of will, not just a friendly jostle in the common corridor of our lives. I wonder how much of me he will afford in his future. How long until I am just a memory chip, programmed for once-a-week dinners?
My son, tell me, before it’s too late, what you dreamed about last night or what you want to be when the world grows up. God knows I am happy for him. Give him liberty and give him his life. But now and then let that brittle world make him yearn for the pliable pleasures of home cooked tenderness. Go with my lump-throated blessing.
Thanks for childhood, dad. See you tonight.
Left at the corner, then straight ahead until you hit the world!
This was emailed to me today, and it really hit home. Actually I felt like a pretty big tool sitting at my desk tearing up, to the point where I actually had to wipe my eyes.
All part of being a dad I guess, more tense when I watch my criminal shows, more enraged when I see a bad parent. In my 20s I cared little or wouldn’t have thought twice about any of those things, but as I embraced the idea of having a family in my 30s things started to change.
Now fast approaching my 40s with two small children in the home, I understand the joy of the sounds little children make. The pitter patter of their little feet running around, the babbling, and sounds of young voices. All to soon they will dissipate, and my wife and I will will be left alone. To my kids I love you both, don’t grow up too fast…