Difference Between Depression And Jubilation

One hit. Especially an opposite field double.

College Baseball. Love it.

Better Than Sex

Dinner and conversation with my son. Certainly less frequent than sex, not that sex is all that …never mind. I was born to be a dad. I have to work to be a good spouse.

My son arrived home from his first term of college two days before Thanksgiving. Due to my work and travel schedule and his social calendar it took until December 23 for us to spend time together…just the two of us. The plan was to have at least two just-the-two-of-us events. The one yet to come, if it happens in his last week at home, will involve something that we do together other than eat.  I have found that if we get out of the house then there is a better chance of having real and meaningful interaction.

He could not decide on a restaurant or even the type of food to consume so I picked Wholly Frijoles since I knew he liked Mexican food and he had not been there before. It was a small place with good food. I good place to talk.

D and I often have trouble discussing tough issues. There were some out there. Typically I am the tough parent or in his mind the bad parent. Therefore, the question in my head was do I tackle these on the first and possibly only night we had together? I want some of his memories to be of the few great times we shared as Father and Son. I want to set a good example for when he is in my role. I decided to play it by ear.

We talked about things big and small for a long time. I shared some stories from his Mom’s side of the family that I had heard earlier that night from his grandparents. We talked about school, girls, which actresses we found attractive, Elf (I had seen it the night before on a plane), other movies and just stuff.

The food came. It was plentiful and tasty. Just the way I like food.

I decided to go for the tough conversation. I let him know that I might have saved this for another time if I knew there would be one. I asked him to listen. In return I got defensive body language and at one time a statement that he would prefer to not talk about it. In the end he did listen. I think he even heard. He shared ideas and overall it was a positive and productive talk. One that did not take away from the overall good feelings of the evening. I even got a hug at the end of the night.

I wish I could have these moments consistently at least twice a month instead of once in a blue moon. Same way I fell about…oh never mind.

Date Night

If I want to spend time with my son, I have to make reservations. He is very social. This summer between baseball, his girlfriend, his friends and an 18 year old boy’s general aversion to spending time with his parents, I do not even see him much let alone have a conversation. And a meaningful conversation about something other than the Cubs…it had been awhile.

So, on a weekend my wife was out of town I made a date. For Friday night. At one time he was to be working so I assumed it would be late. Then he sends a text saying he is going to a friend’s house for a karaoke night. At that point I was steamed. It seemed as I was being blown off. I sent a harshly worded text (I don’t normally like to text. I prefer talk. But D would rather text so I was trying to meet him on his terms.) Part of my anger was that given how little time we have together and that in too short of a time he would be off to college if he was not working that we would spend more of the evening together. Not his idea.

D assured me that he was still up for a late dinner. Things changed again when he found out he had a baseball game. Dinner was on but not until at least 9.

I made the second half of his game. It ended poorly. Often not the best for mood setting. Yet I only get one shot and wanted to make the most of it.

We spoke a little during the long ride home. Most of the time he was texting. Not great for my mood. Still I have only one shot.

We finally got to a restaurant. My approach to getting my son to talk is to go slowly, to give him space.

OK. Enough about the process.

Did we talk. Yes. Even some personal and meaningful stuff. He learned some new, to him, things about me. He shared thoughts about his life and his feelings. I felt like a parent. This rarely happens these days. I enjoy feeling like a parent. It was one of the best dates ever.

Since that night we have gone back to our usual routine. Too bad. I am wise enough to not expect one shared meal to have led to a breakthrough in our relationship. We just need to find more moments. I need to find more moments. Lots more moments.

Its Over

What do I mean by over? I mean:

Main Entry: over
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: accomplished
Synonyms: ancient history, at an end, by, bygone, closed, completed, concluded, done, done with, ended, finished, gone, past, settled, up

High School. Its over.  The last day of classes was yesterday. The last high school baseball game was two days ago. The only thing left is the ceremony in a week. My son D left to spend his first post HS weekend at his college to be. Its over.

Did I know that this day was coming? Sure. A part of me knew this was coming on that day 14.5 years ago when I got married and became an instant parent. There is the key for me, the word parent. Being a parent has been a big part of who I am and what I enjoy. Yeah, yeah. I know that I have not stopped being a parent and there is much more life to live, yada, yada yada. Sure I know that what it means to parent a “child” has been changing rapidly over the last four years…but still.

This is the official beginning of that next phase in my life…oh yeah and in his. This is the Memorial day kick-off of Summer or maybe more appropiately the Labor Day kick-off of Fall. I am not ever ready for Fall especially knowing that Winter comes next.

It would be different if there were more still at home. That way he would just be the first instead of the first and last. Yes this is about  holding onto the past instead of  embracing the future. So what. Indulge me.

I worry about how well I have prepared him for this next step. Being me, it is easy to see every weakness, seeing the strengths comes harder for me.  I know it is time to let him fly. I will be there for him if he needs it. Who will be there for me?

OK. I am getting maudlin. More imprtantly, I should either find a story line  or stop for now. I choose the latter.

Its over.

I was thinking of going out with some weepy exit matching my mood. Then I remembered the way I felt when high school ended.

One Step Forward Six Steps Back

I wrote the other day about the great conversation I had with my son. This broke up a string of screamers. The good will lasted four days. Saturday night was another 10 rounder. Usual suspects. Grades. What they were, what they could be. How a little more studying and a little less play could bridge the gap.

Or from his perspective how everything was OK, under control. My expectations were too high. Everyone else does what he does. I am too serious and need to lighten up.

Its all in the perspective.

Half & Half

Not Miami

Not Miami

I have mentioned more than once that I am a half empty kind of guy. I am more likely to envision what is wrong in a situation than what is right. That helps me in work. In life, not so much.

Here are this week’s half full/half empties:

Half Empty. I am leaving the cold Midwest for a Florida vacation but I need to get up at 4:15 am on a Sunday to get this party started.

Half Full. On the way to the airport the snow begins. Before I am out of Chicago 24 hours they receive and I miss 4 inches of April snow. For vacations, the weather differential is more important than the temperature where you will be.

Half Empty. I am in Florida after an on time arrival but the car rental and other related travel delay our arrival at the hotel by almost 3 hours.

Half Full. We are in Ft. Lauderdale. It is 85 degrees, we go to a biker bar/restaurant near the beach and then walk on the beach. It is an amazingly bland beach.

Half Empty. Did I mention we were in Ft. Lauderdale? Yes it is Florida and much warmer than Chicago. However, Ft. Lauderdale seems like the place people go when they cannot afford Miami, a mere 70 miles away but worlds apart.

Half Full. I am here to watch my son in his last high school baseball tournament. He is surprised I came, pleasantly I think, because I usually work rather than make all his games. But we stay at different hotels and I hardly get a chance to be with him.

Half Empty. I am on vacation but I need to work. In one case because a client knew they would need help months ago but waited until the last minute. Yes it is only a couple of hours a day instead of the 10+ I would work normally but I rarely get time just to unwind and enjoy myself. Therefore I rarely enjoy.

Half Full. My son led off the first game with a hit but was caught stealing. He went two for three and played well in the field. We lost 7-1 to a superb team from Florida. They have already played almost as many games as our season will be.

Just Plain Empty. My son’s coach is terribly organized causing parents to be running around doing last minute errands and spending far more money than was promised.

Just Plain Full. I am in the same city as my son sharing the last parts of his high school life before he steps into the next phase of becoming a man. I could not be here but I am.

Bye Bye Birdie

My son finished his successful off, off, off  Broadway run in Bye Bye Birdie. These are a few of the videos we took with our cheap digital camera (which is my way of making excuses for the quality).

These videos are from the March 21 and 22 productions. They speak for themselves.