My 11 going on 30-year-old daughter asked me to tell her about the hardest moments of my life and then got upset because she realized I was holding back.
“Daddy, we are family. You should be able to tell me anything. I know you are not telling me all that is going on.”
“Sweetheart, I have told you all that you need to know right now. There are some stories that aren’t appropriate for you.”
“Daddy, I am not a baby. I am old enough to hear everything.”
“Then hear this, I tell you as much as you need to know. There are some stories that have to wait.”
“That means never.”
I shake my head and laugh, “maybe yes and maybe no.”
You Don’t Need 50 Condoms
Springsteen is singing Tougher Than The Rest and I am taken back to the summer of ’88.
My dad and I are at Costco and I am picking up some gear for the summer. In a week I’ll be heading off to be a camp counselor at a sleepaway camp that I was once a camper at.
“Jack, do you expect me to pay for those? You don’t need 50.”
I smile at my father and tell him I can pay for them.
“You don’t need 50.”
“Dad, I don’t think you really want to know if I do or not. College has been pretty good to me.”
“Do me a favor big shot, don’t get anyone pregnant. You are not ready to be a father and I am not ready to be grandpa.”
“Do me a favor, don’t bring this up with your mother and no girls in your room.”
I nod and smile.
“Jack, making babies is fun but you won’t like what happens if you screw this up. Try to keep it in your pants and if you can’t be smart. Please…”
Funny to think I am older now than dad was when we had that talk. It wasn’t the first or last of the sex talks but it was the first where he and I both knew that I needed to hear again to be smart and careful because it wasn’t about hypothetical situations anymore.
They Lost Their Virginity While Blogging
Blogging is a great place to answer questions like How Did You Become Who You Are?
It is a place for introspection and discussion and an opportunity to look deeper and find out what lies beneath the surface.
Sometimes I look back at those posts and smile because they bring back good memories or cringe because I think the writing is awful.
And sometimes it is both, because I like most of what I see but discover some blog error like the comments aren’t showing and wonder why things can’t just work as they are intended to.
Reminds me a bit of Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks and how sometimes the things we think, want or expect to happen just don’t.
Speaking of Garth, hell he rings up all sorts of other memories, especially when I hear Friends In Low Places, like this one time where a couple of friends taught me how to two-step.
But maybe we’ll save that for a different time.but it was the first where he and I both knew that I needed to hear again to be smart and carefulClick To Tweet
Garth fades out and Gerry Rafferty fades in.
We’re on Baker Street and the images are flashing hard and fast through my head. Memories of being a kid, of being a teen and everything that happened in between then and now flow through my mind.
I can see myself again standing on a hill overlooking the ocean, there is a red bandanna covering my head and a backpack at my feet.
We’re midway through a 15 mile hike and the view is spectacular. If I was capable of freezing time I would because looking out across the water I know I can see my future…almost.
In some ways life is nothing like I expected and in others precisely what I knew would happen has.
The boy who looked out across the water moved from a hill in the pacific to various locations throughout the Holy Land.
He stood in the Judean desert facing Jerusalem, threw his head back and laughed because he knew he was home.
And then one day years later he stood in his home in Texas and smiled because he knew he was home again.
Now the man he became sees home as being some combination of Jerusalem, LA and Texas but he can’t say where he’ll finally hang his hat or for how long.
I took the long and winding road and managed to find my way to both Heaven and Hell. I don’t know if there is some grand plan we follow or just basic outline but I do know that I have lived one hell of a life.
If I died today and you were to take a complete accounting of all I have done I am confident it would be quite a tale, but it is not nearly enough to satisfy me.
There is still so very much to do.
After The Fire
Lost in thought and memory, curiosity pushes me to dig further into the past so I turn to music to see what comes up.
Roger Daltrey is singing After The Fire and I am back in ’85. I am back in Jerusalem and wondering if I really need to go back to the states.
Fast forward a chunk of time and I am a college student listening to Zeppelin singing Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. Something about it sets off the wanderlust that lies inside and I get this feeling that I am going to have to travel, that I am going to have to go places and do things.
I do and I will…many times.
Parenting Is Hard
“Dad, what are you thinking about?”
Dark eyes look intently into mine.
“Don’t tell me nothing because I always know when you are, your face gives you away.”
“I want your brother and you to learn when to stand on your own and when to stand with the crowd. I want you to learn how to be independent thinkers and to know how to confront the good and the bad that comes with life.”
“That is not what you are thinking about. There is something else.”
“Yeah, I am thinking about blogging about the daughter who makes all my hair fall out.”
She scrunches up her face and rolls her eyes.
“Don’t blog about that.”
“Don’t worry, no one reads my blog anymore.”
“I don’t believe that anymore than I believe you aren’t thinking about something.”
“You are right, I am thinking about how 2014 was a very hard year and so was part of 2015, but things are pretty damn good now. So I am grateful for that and thinking about what else I can do to make things even better.”
She gives me a hug and says she loves me.
As she walks away she says that grandma is right about me, I am a pain-in-the-ass.
“Don’t grow up so fast little girl, enjoy these moments now because they go way too quickly.”