There is a teenager sleeping in my living room.
He is stretched out on a mat and softly snoring away not knowing that his dad can see faint hints of the baby he once was.
That is in spite of the massive size difference between now and then, the facial hair that is slowly starting to make its presence known.
Hands that are only slightly smaller than my own and a voice that again is almost as deep as my own.
It has been this way for a long time now but sometimes it is still a nice surprise to hear “dad” rumble across the room.
Dad Blogging Or Something Almost Recognizable
He wants to know if I still blog and if I do, what do I get out of it.
“You used to get stuff or go on trips sometimes. I don’t remember hearing about it for a while.”
I smile and tell him I always write but that I don’t do it the same way I used to.
“I used to share more stories about parenting and what it was like to be a new or younger father. I don’t do things the same way because stories about babies and toddlers are different from teen stuff.”
He asks me a few more questions and I tell him little kids cause little problems and big kids cause big problems.
An eye roll or two later I explain I don’t spend as much time reading some of the parenting blogs as I used to either.
“It is not because there aren’t some very fine writers out there, but potty training, diapers and first day of school stuff are well in the past. Been there, done that. Now I wonder and worry about high school, college and can almost see empty nest time.”
What A Long Strange Trip
I can hear a million echoes of college and high school friends talking about the Dead and what a long strange trip it has been but today I see it differently.
A wry smile crosses my face because I have danced in the fire and run through hell covered in gasoline and know the difference between true chaos and ordinary life.
Looking at that teenage boy I smile and shake my head because in so many ways I have done what I set out to do when I first became a father.
It wasn’t always easy and there have been some very tough moments. The funny thing is when I look back at what I thought were the hardest times I can see now they were just the warm up.
This last year has been more of a challenge than any of the other stuff, but that is because anything that can be solved with money is simple.
Might not be simple to get the cash you need, but at least you can see a solution.
When I look at the current situation I can see some solutions and feel pretty confident that we’ll get there but I know this is going to be a rocky road.
The thing is that rocky road is going to be safely and successfully traversed because of that past experience.
I am not the man I once was and am morphing into someone else, a guy I recognize and mostly like. That is what life does to us, it molds, shapes and changes us.
So I look at that teenager and ask myself if I am doing all I can to help mold, shape and prepare him to take on the world.
The answer is I have done and my doing my best.
Life has surprised us and there is nothing unusual about that. It will happen to everyone reading this post and all who don’t.
I can’t say what, when or how but I know we all will have to deal with some surprises.
That is not a warning or battle cry, just a comment.
The only question is whether we’ll find a way to roll with what comes or if we’ll spend time and energy trying to keep the river from rushing on by.
Prince- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Sometimes I watch this clip of Prince playing guitar at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside a bunch of other musicians and get lost in the moment.
They’re doing a cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and I see the expression on Prince’s face and wish I could ask him about it.
Because to me it looks like he gets lost in the moment and there is something that is ever so cool to me about it.
Truth is it doesn’t matter whether Prince was or not because what is important to me is the idea behind it.
I am a collector of moments and experiences and that expression makes me think he recognized the moment and just went with it.
That is what I want for my family, to find those moments and to just get lost in them.
Stop wondering and worrying about the mundane and to let the magic carry us somewhere special, at least for a moment.
That is how you come to enjoy a life well lived.