Sometimes I have to remind myself that my son is not me. He has my hands and my feet- but his face, skin and hair color are his mothers. His temperament is a mix of the two of us- but he already has a ton of my habits and mannerisms.
It is not surprising- what other man is he going to look to first. Sometimes I look at him and ask him if he is sure that I am his dad. He laughs and holds up his hand. A million years ago I showed him the special lines in his hand that prove that he is mine. He laughs again and tells me that he knows all of my tricks and then he grows silent.
He knows me well and understands that he can’t say that he knows all of my tricks without expecting something to happen. Sometimes I come up with something new and sometimes I just wrestle with him. Boys are like bear cubs, got to wrassle with them pups a bit. I rub my face against his and he yells at me that it is rough.
I laugh and he says it is not fair. I tell him that life isn’t fair and that grandpa used to do it to me too. He threatens to tell grandpa I said that and I encourage him to do so. He looks at me and growls- he knows that it has been decades since my dad could ground me.
We stop wrestling and I ask him if he is hungry. He nods his head and I take him into the kitchen and offer to get him a snack. Along the way I point at the smoke detector and ask him if he remembers what size battery it takes. We end up with some cheese and popcorn and sit at the table. While we eat I listen to him tell me stories about the things that interest him- sometimes I haven’t a clue what he is talking about but he loves it so I listen. (Side note: don’t think that this hasn’t happened to me as I am sure that parents/friends would nod their head in affirmation.)
In between tales of Pokemon, Star Wars and his friends I talk to him about soccer. A new season is about to start and I have some advice. We talk for a moment about goals, objectives and strategy and then I tell him to be more aggressive.
“When you are on defense, go get it! Take that ball away from the other guy!” He looks at me and nods his head. It is not the first time I have said it- but I am a bit shy about it. Shy because I realize that I am asking him to play the game the way that I would and I am not sure that it is fair.
It doesn’t matter what sport I play- I am aggressive. I don’t know how to play any other way other than as hard as I can. I make up for lack of talent by just going for it at hyper-speed. It is not really fair for me to expect him to play exactly as I do- he isn’t me.
He may resemble me in so many ways and have the manners to go along with the looks- but he still isn’t me. So I make a promise to myself to try and let him develop his own game. I hope that he will emulate me, but if he doesn’t that is ok because my son isn’t me.