Don’t tell my kids I am eating Halloween candy for breakfast today or that I had some yesterday.
You probably shouldn’t tell them my apartment is a mess and there is more beer in my refrigerator than food either.
And definitely don’t tell them that half the room watched me leave a building yesterday because I forgot I don’t know how to whisper very well.
Well, it is not that I don’t know how to whisper it is that sometimes there is a rumble to my voice that makes it carry a little further than others.
There aren’t many days where I realize hours after an event that I blew it, but it happened yesterday.
A Different Kind Of Childhood
Sometimes I compare the life my kids have to the one I had when I was their age and shake my head because I am not sure how I feel about it.
In some ways they have had more experiences and opportunities than Ma & Pa Steiner gave my sisters and I.
But they have had to adjust to many more changes than we did. They have moved and changed schools more than a couple of times now.
Sometimes that makes me feel like I haven’t done right by them and sometimes I think it has helped them learn some valuable lessons.
I don’t spend much time thinking about any of it because so much of it was outside of my control and there is no value in giving energy to that kind of thought.
Doesn’t mean I don’t ever question decisions and choices or ask if I could be a better father because sometimes I do.
Most days I feel pretty good about it all because I handle whatever comes my way and that is a good trait to pass along.
A Different World
Last Thanksgiving I went to an annual event the fraternity puts on to see the guys.
Been going since I pledged in ’87 and have rarely missed it. It is fun to catch up with some of the guys I am not in regular contact with and to see some of other guys in person.
We made the usual cracks about each other and asked the same ridiculous questions we always do about how old we are getting.
When you are an active you don’t realize the majority of your time is going to be spent as an alum nor do you appreciate that the guys who were 7-10 years older than you would eventually become you friends.
Because when you are 18-20 and see guys who are almost 30 you think they are really old and then you get out of school and time passes.
Doesn’t take too long for you to begin to have enough in common with them to have some really good conversations.
Anyway, I remember standing with a group of guys ranging in age from about 43 to 57 and how we all felt like there was a generation gap.
We weren’t all white and weren’t all Jewish or all Christian, but we were all sort of confused by some of the things that some of the thirty-somethings and below were pushing/talking about.
It wasn’t that we couldn’t relate or couldn’t talk to them because we could, but some things just felt different.
And we realized in many ways they grew up in a different world too.
Differences & Similarities
When the kids and I talk about issues with people I always tell them that people are people.
I believe it to be true and quotes like the one above from Lao Tzu prove to me that some things about us never change.
But sometimes when I listen to my friends who are single talk I wonder a bit.
The guys who are close to age in me tell stories about the women they are dating and Â I can follow it all.
Might not have been out there in a good long while, but I can see it.
It is the guys who are ten or more years younger that sometimes tell stories that make me feel like I might be some kind of dinosaur.
Don’t know that any of this really matters, it is just stuff that crosses my mind from time to time.
Age Is Relative
Don’t tell my kids that I prefer being an adult to being a kid and don’t tell them that I had an amazing childhood.
Don’t tell them if I could relive being 19 and have the same experiences I would step into the time machine now.
Don’t tell them I know everything and don’t tell them I know nothing.
Don’t tell them that sometimes I love the freedom that comes with having my own place and that I know I’ll miss it when we living together again.
Don’t tell them I have stayed out all night or how much it hurt the next day.
Just tell them dad loves them and he is just an ordinary Joe trying to provide for his family.
Tell them I miss them and that I look forward to seeing them soon and ask them again if they can stop growing so damn quickly.
Is my oldest really going to turn 16 and is my baby really halfway through middle school.
No wonder I feel like time is moving at warp speed.