So … size matters. I know there are people who say differently – and there certainly are mitigating circumstances around it. Age can have a profound effect, as can socioeconomic status. Yet, ultimately it really is the measure of a man … er … person.
This was the culmination of thoughts as I watched a funeral procession drive past me the other day.
(Didn’t see that one coming, did you?)
In all seriousness, it was a painful thing to watch. This one had well over 50 cars and more police presence than I have ever seen. And I knew who it was. Not personally, but in a town of 22,000 people, it’s hard not to know what’s going happening. In this case, a freshman at the local high school tragically died (as if there’s any other sort) at football training camp. . My heart goes out to the parents and other students who feel the effect of that. It’s a pain that no one should have to experience.
I remember when I wrote an article for two friends who had lost their 26-year-old daughter to an asthma attack … right there in their home. The father said that the way I wrote it was like I was there. I, of course, was not, but I just imagined what one of the worst feelings in the world might be. The loss of a child ranked right up there.
So back to yesterday … after passing by this funeral, I arrived home and was greeted by my son running across the garage in bare feet. He’s so cute … sometimes.
Seriously. Have you ever been around a 4 year old with an analytic personality? Everything is “why?” He is a constant stream of questions. We are working on emotional regulation – but certainly are not there yet. And then there’s the middle-of-the-night wakeup. Either he winds up in bed with us or one of us has to go lay down with him. What a pain!
And I wouldn’t trade it … for anything.
I think of the parents of the children I mentioned earlier and wondered how much they would give for the opportunity to hold their child again – even it was at 3am.
When we first had Michael, I read three and a half different books on parenting. The half came because that’s when I had the epiphany … none of these authors knew what they were talking about. One book said to keep children on a rigid schedule and they will always behave like perfect soldiers. Another said to be permissible in all things and let them explore.
We realized that outside of the Almighty, there was one couple who could raise our child … us.
For us, our decision was based on the craziness of our schedule combined with the desire to be close to our son. There will come a day when Michael will want to sleep by himself and doesn’t need us. There will come a day when he will not want to speak more than three words to us. And there will come a day when he will have to realize what sadness truly is.
But today is not that day.
Instead I made a promise to him and to myself. I will enjoy every minute. I will hug him liberally. I will tell him I love him every stinking chance that I get. Because ultimately, on the day I get to ride in my hearse, I don’t care if there is one car or fifty. I only care if there is a son in that line who considers me a good father.
And even if that is not reason enough, I still need to remember that he will grow out of all these things. He’s done it so far. He weaned himself when he was ready for a bottle. He started eating solid food when he was ready. And he even used the potty by himself (when he was ready). All of his milestones, he has accomplished on his own with us there to model and support. Why should the rest of life be any different?