“When I grow up to be a man
Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?
Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn’t done what I did?
Will I joke around and still dig those sounds
(Will I still joke around and still dig those sounds?)
When I grow up to be a man?”
When I grow up to be a man– The Beach Boys
Every parent has a couple of stories that they like to tell about their children. My parents have two about me that they never tire of telling. They don’t have a particular order that they tell them in nor do they always share them, but these two have never managed to fade into obscurity.
They like to share the tale of what happened when they brought my youngest sisters home from the hospital. I was a few weeks short of turning five and desperate to finally have a brother. Instead they brought home twin girls and I burst into tears.
The other tale they sometimes like to tell takes place when I was about five years-old. I got into trouble for something and my father sent me to my room. A short time later I came out and challenged my father to a fight. The reason being that my five year-old self thought that if I beat him I would no longer be in trouble and consequently could do as I pleased.
So you see I have been like this my entire life. I haven’t ever seen anyone or anything as being too big, too tough, too strong or capable of beating me. They might be able to slow me down, win an occasional battle, but never the war. Call me delusional if you will, but I am consistent.
I stumbled across pictures of our old kitchen from the old house. It brought back a ton of memories.
So we decided to gut it and start over.
Slowly it evolved into something different.
And from nothing came something.
This is where my children learned to walk. Every Friday night it was where I blessed them:
In English the words are as follows:
For a son:
“May G-d make you like Efraim and Menashe.
For a daughter:
May G-d make you like Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah.
May G-d bless you and protect you. May G-d cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May G-d raise His face to you and establish peace for you.”
Who Am I/Who I was/Who I Will Be
Two conversations today gave me pause and left me thinking about a million different things. Two different friends, one older and one younger made me think about how interesting life can be.
The older one was a tank commander who visited Lebanon encased in a steel beast. It was the early ’80s and he was scared but determined to do what had to be done. The second man is younger than I am by about a decade. He was a paratrooper who has his own share of tales and stories of doing what had to be done.
I could have been one or both of them. Had I turned left or gone right I could have been him or him.
But that kitchen that once was wouldn’t have been. And these children I still bless wouldn’t be and me, well I don’t know who I would be.
Sometimes I get lost in let’s remember and I walk with the ghosts and the shadows of what was. Sometimes I get lost in think of what might have been and I wander among the fantasies, elves and sprites.
But I always come back to where I am now. I never forget about what it is I am doing now and why. Some decisions have been smart, some have been dumb and others have yet to be measured.
That soldier boy I could have been is gone and so is the baseball player. I won’t ever be 19 again nor will I be 25 but 45 hasn’t quite hit and 5o isn’t quite here yet either.
What it means is that I have options and I have time. I can make choices to be who I want. Some of the decisions I have made may not be smart and some may be brilliant but I don’t have to let any of them define me any more than I ever did.
All I can do is all I have ever done and that is try to make the best decisions possible based upon the choices I had and the information I had on hand. I still laugh more than I cry and sing more than I shout.
I don’t know how to get where I am going but I know where I want to get to and remain confident that I am going to get there. It just might take me take a bit longer but the joy of the journey makes the mundane into the majestic. All it takes is patience and the willingness to seek out the magic of the moments.
Don’t believe me? Slip your hand into mine, walk with me and watch.