In a few moments or so the day will officially become December 29 and I will be the father of an eight-year-old boy. Some of you will read this and smile as you recollect when your child was this age and some of you will have no frame of reference at all. But let me tell you that I am continually surprised to realize that not only am I a father, but I have a child who is not a baby any more.
Actually he hasn’t been a baby for a very long time now, but not unlike many other parents I wonder where the time went. I look at him and I see hints of the baby he used to be but more than anything else I see small hints of the teenager to come. And I suspect that I might even see a few inklings of the man that he will one day be.
I told him earlier today to take his time growing up, there is no rush. It is something that my parents often told me and a lesson that I am trying to pass along. I suppose that I am trying to absorb it myself as well. Or maybe it is just my personal struggle with aging that I am confronting.
When I think back to the time before he was born I realize that I look at it as having been a different life. I remember what life was like, but in some ways I don’t really remember anymore. What I know is that every decision that I have made for the past eight years has been tied into him, whether I was conscious of it or not.
Since he has been on Winter Break I have made an extra effort to take advantage of the time. I have tried to make sure to do more fun things with him and to let him help me with more chores around the house. It is not that I didn’t let him before, but his school work takes priority and sometimes it was necessary to do the work without him.
He has helped to repair a drawer and a gate. He has talked to me about all sorts of school stuff, including his education about Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Jackie Robinson. He has spent time teaching me how to do second grade math and then asked me how it was that I already knew how to do it.
I got a kick out of the look on his face when I told him that I have already been through school. “You mean that even though you didn’t have computers you learned this stuff.”
We have spent time playing on the kids new Wii, Lego Star Wars is a particular favorite. I am amazed sometimes that a movie I loved as a kid has turned into a bonding exercise.
In between we chased each other around the house, threw a football around and terrorized the girls because according to him that is what we are supposed to do. Who am I to argue with such logic.
Just before he went to sleep we spent more time telling each other secrets and I did my best to answer some of his questions. A short while ago his mother and I let him know that there is a chance that he may go to a new school next year. Thus far he has spent his entire school career in private school and is nervous about public school.
I told him not to worry about it and that everything would work out, but I have to admit that I am nervous about it too. I don’t want to have to take him out of his school, I love it. But we’ll have to see what happens.
Anyway, that is enough about the big guy now. Maybe I’ll write more about it all later.