I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on my father’s face when I put a box of 50 condoms in the cart. I was 19 and getting ready to head off for the summer at the overnight camp I worked at.
Dad looked at me and made a comment about my not really needing so many, if any and I laughed. “Costco is the greatest store, do you know how much these would cost if I had to buy them somewhere else.”
He looked at me and said something about being too young to become a grandfather and then repeated the line about my not needing 50 condoms.
At the time I thought he was trying to tease me but looking back I wonder if he was trying to reconcile what was happening in front of him.
The Old Man Who Really Wasn’t
I had just finished my freshman year of college and I thought I was a seasoned veteran of life because at 19 I had been through so damn much.
Really, I had survived high school, graduated and then had a freshman year that I won’t ever forget. It was ridiculously fun and as a newly initiated brother of ZBT I was certain that college was going to be the greatest experience of my life.
And it was awesome but fortunately it wasn’t the greatest time of my life. It left an indelible mark and I look back upon it fondly but I am glad that I have had many amazing memories come since then because it would be more than a little sad to say that the best times in my life have come and gone.
Anyhoo, like many 19 year olds I was smarter than everyone and convinced that I was far more worldly and wise than I was. Had I had more sense and life experience I probably would have realized how awkward that moment was for my father and not made such a big thing about it.
But I didn’t and now I wonder if the curse of parenting will follow me because something tells me that my kids will help me realize just how awkward those moments can be.
Your Daughter Was Doing What?
Around ten years or so ago I got a good laugh from a story one of the guys I played ball with told. The short version is that one day he came home early from work and walked in on his daughter and her boyfriend.
We all thought it was hysterical.
I remember him looking at me and saying something like “just wait until your kids are older. I laughed and nodded. That day felt so far away I didn’t care.
It was a million years in the future.
But today the past and the future had a sort of collision or convergence.
My seventh grader started telling me some stories about middle school and asking questions.
His Questions Were Appropriate
His questions were appropriate and I was happy he asked. I don’t know if he had forgotten that he had asked some of them in the past, but I didn’t mind.
I answered them again and wondered if the boy who said he will never kiss a girl or get married has his eye on someone. I can guarantee that some of his questions came because of discussions the other boys are having around him and he asked because he didn’t feel comfortable saying he didn’t know.
Did my best to make it comfortable for him and told him multiple times to always feel comfortable talking to me about anything but midway through I realized that he isn’t that much younger than I was when certain things started happening.
And then I looked at him and wondered how long it will be before nature grabs my boy and has her way with him. Some things are happening now– appetite is increasing and he is beginning to get broader. His voice is a tad deeper and I suspect a growth spurt is imminent.
The Train Has Left The Station
When I think back about my growth at his age and beyond it is hard not to feel like the train has left the station. Hard not to wonder what the next few years will be like and all that jazz.
So I am gearing and girding myself for some rougher waters and wondering if a few years from now that kid of mine is going to share a 50 condom moment with me.
Got to run now, I think I better apologize to my father. Don’t know if that will head off the curse but it certainly can’t hurt.