Fathers and Sons

In the last couple of weeks I have observed several father/son moments which have caused me to reflect on the current state of my relationship with D. These moments, including a brief interlude of my own, connected in my mind this weekend. In order of age as opposed to chronology they are as follows:

  • The Bar Mitzvah.  Yesterday a good friend’s son had his bar mitzvah service followed by a party today. I have seen this manchild over the years but did not know him well. The best part of the ceremony and celebration came as the mom, dad, rabbi and president of the congregation spoke intimately and glowingly about this boy. I expected as much from loving parents.  From the representatives of the congregation you often get some perfunctory and tired speech. But not this day.  I learned much about the boy including that he had a sense of humor and was not afraid to use it. This he got from his dad. The mutual love of parents and child was clear from the words and the way they looked at each other. My son went through this ceremony 4 years ago. All I could think was how things have changed.
  • The Dinner.  I picked D up from a friend’s house where he had eaten dinner. We have become good friends with the parents. The dad told me what a delight it was to have D over. How talkative he was over dinner, unlike his own son. “My son was talkative” I laughed. Not at his own house. Never at his own house with his own parents. I suggested a new rule. Once boys hit there teenage years there would be a period of time, say 3-6 months, during which we would swap sons. That way we could all enjoy the pleasure of a talkative teenage boy for awhile.
  • 31 Year Old Son. I went for a day’s ride with a good friend and his adult son. I had not observed such a relationship outside of family. Based on a sample of one, it does seem as if at some point your son no longer thinks of you as one of the most ignorant people on the planet. The conversation was sometimes man to man and other times father and son. I do not want my son to ever call me by my first name, however. I hope to always be Dad.
  • 2 Minute Parenting. This is probably a good name for the next hit book. (I can see D and me on the book tour. I think I will wear one of those professorial sport coats with the patches on the elbows. He will be in long shorts, underwear showing, and a Cubs jersey. But I digress.) It is not that one can actually parent effectively in 2 minutes but often that is all you get. I have hardly seen my son all week. I was out of town or in the office late and on the weekend he was at a game or out with friends. A few moments ago I got him to sit still for 2 minutes while I asked him a few things about what he has been up to and to tell him that I was proud of him for his grades so far this year. By the end of two minutes the siren call of the Bears game was too strong for him and the connection was broken.

At 16, almost 17, this is a hard age for me. I miss the time we used to spend together and how we would sometimes connect.  As a friend said to me today, “I guess he does not have you tell him stories at bedtime anymore”.  No. No more bedtime stories. Too bad. I was damn good at that.

About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

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