The teenage boy I sometimes refer to as Little Jack places his hand against my own and smiles.
“Dad, my hands are almost as big as yours.”
I smile and tell him it won’t be long before they are and he smiles back at me.
We’re seated at the far end of a table of twenty-something people and I am listening to the conversation between his great uncle and him.
They are talking about school and life and somewhere in the midst of it that kid who isn’t very little anymore talks about how he outran me on the soccer field.
I nod my head and say it is true, I don’t have the endurance to run for distance anymore but I point out that I can still beat him and his friends in a sprint.
He smiles and says that is true and say he has seen me win several races and then points out he has seen me dive for loose balls and wrestle some of my friends.
“My father thinks he is a boy sometimes.”
I Am A Jedi—Like My Father Is…Was
“Dad, I think you, grandpa and I should see the next Star Wars movie together, just the three of us.”
“Sure, as long as your homework is done.”
He nods his head at me.
“Stop harassing my grandson, he’ll be on winter vacation.”
The smile on my father’s face couldn’t be any bigger. We are at a family party and the three of us are standing in the corner talking.
“It’s too bad my grandfather isn’t around to tell you to stop harassing his grandson.”
Dad loves being grandpa and likes nothing more to spoil his grandchildren and give me a little grief. He calls it “payback” for lost sleep, lost hair and time spent worrying about me.
I tell shake my head at him and tell him that we are even.
“You never flew across country not knowing if your father would be dead or alive when you landed.”
He laughs, “I am here now, aren’t I.”
“Dad, sometimes you are a pain in my butt.”
“Isn’t that what your own son just said to you.”
I don’t have to look at his face to know there is a Cheshire Cat grin across his face. It makes me smile too, but sometimes there are flashes of memory and I remember.
Dad obviously survived and more than a decade later is in his early seventies. But his health is not nearly what it could be and that makes me a nervous.
You never forget what it is like to see your own father on life support and I suspect that is probably part of what drives me to race my son and his friends and engage in some of these other shenanigans.
Dad and I have had very honest conversations about life and he tells me he knows he is closer to the end than the start but reminds me we haven’t got a clue what that means.
Some of that is him still trying to protect me, some of that is him being my dad. I recognize it for what it is, but I don’t push back because now isn’t the time.
No point in telling him he should have taken better care of himself and that if he had we wouldn’t wonder when his kidneys will decide they are done for good..
It is what it is and he is pretty damn happy right now so why complain about what you can’t change. That horse left the barn and it doesn’t matter how fast or resourceful we are, not this time.
So we move to the next thing and focus on what we can control and influence.
Some of it makes me smile because I know when I write/read things like Dads Love Their Sons- Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker Edition Part II he is in them.
When The Force Doesn’t Work
The party is long since over and I am sitting at the computer enjoying the place between light and darkness.
Got a list of things I want to do and a ton of reasons why they might not work or happen the way I want them to. Somewhere in the back of my head I can hear my father’s voice and the echoes of something he said when I was little.
I am not even really sure what it is, I just know that when you can’t use the Force to make things move for you sometimes you have to hitch yourself to the plow and pull the damn sled and or sleigh behind you.
It is not a matter of can’t or won’t but will and that is where I am at.
The car is jammed between the walls of a canyon good and tight and it doesn’t matter how many times I gun the engine, can’t get it out.
But I haven’t tried pushing, pulling or greasing the walls, wheels and world around it.
Master Yoda says there is no try, it is do or do not…so I will.
I Am Going To Win The Bet
My son finds me and says that he told his uncle he is going to win the bet and I just shake my head and laugh.
“Don’t laugh at me dad, it is not cool.”
“I am not laughing at you, I am laughing with you. You won’t want to hear this, but I am going to tell you anyway. Once upon a time I kissed a woman and electricity ran through my body. It was life changing and I knew the world was different.”
He looked at me and asked me what I meant.
“If she asked me to go to Hell and bring back the Lucifer’s pitchfork Â I would have done it and I would have brought his spare one for good measure. If she would have told me she needed the moon I would have pulled that sucker out of the sky.”
“I think you’re exaggerating, but it doesn’t matter because I am never going to kiss a girl.”
I just laughed and said we’d see.
“I remember measuring my hand against grandpa’s and smiling because it was almost the same size. Life is a real kick sometimes.”