When our youngest son turned 13 a couple of weeks ago he was officially engulfed in teen spirit, embracing it wholly, eye rolls and all. Granted, the smell of it had moved in several months before, body spray in a hoodie, and the attitude arrived even earlier. His birthday completed the set: two teenage boys sharing a bathroom and little else, save their love of pets and parents. They are, for the most part, free to choose their own adventures. There was a time that I would chronicle all of it -- the love and the loss, the raw and the perfectly flawed. I would put their stories to the … [Read more...]
The distance between them is a mix of years and meters, measures in degrees of space and sound and time. Two boys joined at the bloodline, bound by fate and floor plans, my sons have shared a bedroom from the beginning, their bunked barracks always a common ground. That changed last week. For the first time ever, the boys are each in their own room. They believe they have gained freedom and independence, which is true. But I cannot help fear a paradise lost in nightly confidants and the whispers between them. Also, a place for potential guests should any care to visit. This change in the … [Read more...]
I’m older now. I sense finality more. Last ballgames, the last time they need your help on the sledding hill or on their bikes or getting dressed or tying shoes.
+ + +Do you know Shel Silverstein? It doesn’t matter much, a poet – any artist, really - is only showing you what you already know. Does this line sound familiar? “Once there was a tree … and she loved a boy.” Yes, The Giving Tree. I have a weird and long history with his work. I first encountered him in my youth in the 1970s in Playboy magazine, which, at the time I was reading for the … [Read more...]
"No," I say. "He's not ready." At the bus stop, my wife shakes her head and sighs. She is disagreeing with me and showing her exasperation. She's a great multitasker. My fifth grader, Wyatt, and my youngest son, Oliver, adjust their backpacks. "It's my call," I say. "He's ready," she counters. "I'm Dad. I've been here since the beginning. I was the one that quit my job to stay home with the kids. It's my call." That should count for something. That should give me the absolute final decision about whether my son is ready for kindergarten or not. I say he's not. My wife … [Read more...]
It is late. Everyone went to bed a long time ago, and I am two hours into one beer. The house is dark, save a scattering of candles and the glow of outdoor holiday lighting spread upon windowpanes that will never frost. I am wide awake, thoughts and sugar dancing in my head. My uncertainty even more so. It is December, and I am stuck between a Netflix and a hard place, each episode blending into the next like so many years, skipping intros and pausing just to pee. Each new chapter the last before bed, another deadline declined beneath the comfort of just sitting still. Everything is … [Read more...]