Sunday, October 19, 2008

25 To Life

25 to Life - that is the sentence at this point..

Ok, ok it's not a 'sentence', it's a commitment. My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past summer. a quarter century, 9,125 days. Not counting leap years - those are nature's way of giving us a little extra time here on earth that is harder to count.

Where did the first twenty five go?

That is always a hard question to answer as you get older. I remember standing there in my white tux with my Dad outside the church going through the motions for pictures but definitely not knowing the adventure I was embarking on. I remember the 'I do', the people, the cake, and Karen almost setting her hair on fire.

I remember our first house, an almost new Turbo Coupe Thunder bird, and moving on to our next house. I remember bits and pieces of the good and the bad. The time spent together doing the simple things and the time away on vacations and date nights. I also remember the fights, disagreements, and arguments but can't remember the reason for hardly any of them.

I remember her desire for another house, to get out of the city and me not understanding the big deal. I'd likely still be in our 800 square foot first house based on my motivation. I also remember and enjoy daily how it feels to be out of the city in a bigger house and a couple acres to call our own.

I remember the long weekend before our son was born and the beautiful sunny Sunday morning when he came into this world. That son who is now taller than his Mom and fast approaching me.

The first 25 are gone, blurry memories of the past. Images to remember, emotions to relive in our minds. Lessons to not forget, but to use to do the right things in the future. Memories to let go of but still embrace.

We made the first 25 so I guess all that is left is 'Life'... hopefully longer than than the first 25 years. I'll take that 'sentencing' any day!

Photo by Stephen W Nolen

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Teenager Eve

Well, tonight is the last night of NOT having a teenager. Tomorrow at 8:35am it's all over... and it's all beginning as well.

The first twelve years have been a big blur but quite wonderful and I hope the next thirty or more (hopefully I'll live that long) will be even better.

Gone are the days of helping him learn to ride a bike, draw a picture, read a book, and take a nap. Now it's on to how to drive a car, use your agenda, wash your clothes, and organize your life. How to plan for tomorrow but enjoy every minute we have hear on earth. How to insure the future but still not worry too much about how we'll be getting there but enjoy the journey instead.

I am looking forward to watching the new directions his personality takes, his new interest that are found, new passions that develop, and new worlds he follows. I understand I will almost hate him, and he will hate me, at some point during the path to adulthood but hopefully that will be short lived and leave no hard feelings for either of us. I only hope I can be as good as a father to him as mine was to me and instill something that will follow him forever.

It's really all about the journey but it's hard to remember that as we live in the moment.

Goodnight child - and good morning teen. It's going to be fun.

Image by Stephen Nolen

Monday, October 6, 2008

Man Hug

You know, that awkward kind of "pat on the back / shake your hand / but not real close hug like thing" that men do when they have to. To me, a Man Hug is something you do when you have to, and you've known the person for a long time. Like an uncle or brother, a special friend or something.

So what the heck happened when suddenly that is how you feel when hugging your own son? When did THAT happen? I remember picking him up, rocking him in the middle of the night, carrying him around and protecting him and now I'm confused how to greet him - a hug or a handshake? Where did the little kid that I used to pickup and hug without question go to?

Time is brutal when it comes to watching your child grow up - you pray everyday that they WILL make it, that they WILL succeed, and they WON'T get hurt or lose their way but it also HURTS to watch those special moments disappear when you least expect it. Things like reading 'Hank the Cowdog' books at bedtime, playing Legos on the living room floor, or watching him take his first ride on his scooter, bike, and motorcycle realizing that the car is next. Heck, he's already driving the car around the lot...

It's proud moments of seeing learning, success and growth interrupted by suddenly obvious transition points when he starts kicking your butt in video games (long time ago) and playing guitar - both real and the "Hero" versions better than old "Dad" ever will. It's moments of fear when you think about the 'big bad world' that he will have to face followed by calm when he holds the door open for the little old lady, says thanks and remembers to put the toilet lid down every time without any prompting.

Those are the moments when you think - he'll make it - he's a great kid... or teenager... or young adult... Wow - whatever he will be the next time you turn around.

I have to say live life by planning for the future but enjoying every minute you can. I think I'll go give my son a HUG. Happy 13th Birthday Austin!