He looks at me and asks me to tell him what I know about life and I don’t hesitate,
“It’s About How You Love.”
I don’t have to ask what he thinks or look at his face to know he doesn’t agree with what I say but that is ok, teenagers are natural skeptics.
He shakes his head and I smile and ask if he wants to me to explain what I mean.
“Sure dad, tell me what you mean.”
I smile and tell him about a conversation with three rabbis about sex and love.
“Why would you talk to a rabbi about sex and love?”
“Because I knew them before they became rabbis and were justÂ ordinary JoesÂ like me. You know I thought about becoming a rabbi, that there have been moments where I was very serious about it.”
“Yeah, I know. I know how you spent all that time in Israel and all that other stuff you have told me.”
I smile and tell him to find me when he wants to have a conversation.
“YourÂ old manÂ isn’t here to bullshit with you today. Find me when you’re open to speaking and I’ll be ready.”
Who Are You Blogging For?
Another month and I’ll hit my 12-year blogiversaryÂ but I don’t know if I’ll write the usual reflective piece about the blog and why I do it.
I probably won’t know until the time comes and then I’ll just go for it or I won’t.
Depends on a bunch of things like whether I think there is more to say than was shared in Who Are You Blogging For.
I told my teen that sometimes when life gets challenging it is worth making a mental list of things we should be grateful for.
That is one of the things the blog helps me do. It provides aÂ livingÂ chronicle of the moments of the past and makes it easy to look back and see where we have been.
Five years ago we were on the verge of making major changes in our lives and I asked that teen to Trust Me.
He was 10.5 then and was very unhappy about having to sell his house.
What I didn’t and couldn’t tell him then was how unhappy I was about having been forced to do it. Didn’t matter that I had always planned on moving because it wasn’t happening on my terms.
I couldn’t tell him that I felt like I had failed. I was another casualty of the economic devastation of the time and one of many who was forced to make hard choices.
But I also knew I would find a way to get back on my feet and that we wouldÂ fixÂ things. So I did the best I could to keep everyone calm and tried to have fun where and when I could.
Six or seven weeks ago I took my son and grandfather to the tux shop so that we could be fitted for the wedding. When it came time for me the guy behind the counter asked me if I knew my size and I asked him for a yardstick. Grandpa got a good laugh from that one and then my mother told me that it wasnâ€™t very funny. I hadnâ€™t a clue that she was anywhere close to me which proves that my mother has never stopped training with the ninjas who taught her how to appear and disappear when I was a child.
That day is one of my favorite memories and if it weren’t for the blog I wouldn’t remember it in as much detail as I do.
Not that I could forget that August, grandpa died, my sister got married and then we moved.
Hell the months that followed were pretty crazy too, one of my brother-in-laws ended up on life support and one of my sisters spent a couple of weeks in the hospital.
Things could easily have gone a different way and they could have died, but they didn’t.
That provides ample room for gratitude now doesn’t it.
Have you ever wondered if there is a secret formula for life?
I sure have and I suppose that is sort of what my son was asking when we had our conversation about life.
After almost 16 years of fatherhood and almost 47 years of life “it is about how you love” is probably the closest I have come to feeling I have figured it out and even then I can’t be certain.
What I know is that the longer I walk around this world the more reason I see to love and live hard.
Doesn’t mean there aren’t hard times or that I haven’t wondered how many times I would feel like Charlie Brown must feel after Lucy jerks that football away.
In many ways the strangest feeling I have had is the realization I understand what Max was saying when he said I Wish I Could Start Over.
Twenty years later I wonder what became of him and whether he found his own yellow brick road.
If we were to talk I’d tell him I won’t let myself be caught in the trap of feeling like I have no choices because I do and so do most of us.
We may not like where we are in life and what our situations are but we have choices.
I am using my soul as a guide to help me make those choices.
I don’t have enough money to just quit my job and retire. I don’t have enough money to just pick up and take a chance on a different sort of life without taking on serious risk.
But I also know that everything is fluid and we cannot guarantee that the guarantees we think we have secured in life will remain guaranteed.
In many ways my life is nothing like I expected it to be and in many ways it is richer than I ever could have imagined.
I am not a Dodger or a Laker and I am not living in Jerusalem.
But one day I may and when I do I may be a published author who has homes around the world and has the wherewithal to spend time in those places writing the stories he has yet to tell.
There is no manual for raising teenage boys and even if there was it wouldn’t matter,Â there is no one way to do it.
“Live and love hard Steiner the minor” and remember that your dad wants to live by certain words.
I am, I said and I did. I went. I was and I wouldâ€¦again.