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Today is my son’s 14th birthday. With each passing day, he’s closer and closer to adulthood. One step nearer to no longer needing us “old folks”. I look at this time with a mixture of emotions. On this parenting installment of “Confessions of a real dad,” let me tell you about those emotions!
Feelings of fear
Life is so delicate. In this day and age where life receives such a “low value” from society overall, I’m happy that we’ve made it this far. Don’t think for one second that I take life for granted! I know that tomorrow is not promised to any of us, and I take each and every day as a blessing. I confess that every time that my son goes to school alone, when he comes home alone, as a father, I worry about his well being. It’s a tough world out there and I wish that I could protect him each and every step of the way.
Feelings of joy
I’m happy to see my son growing up from a little boy, into a man. Everyday the transitions are more and more apparent to me. His voice is becoming deeper, his interests are evolving, he’s becoming taller, and his muscles are starting to come into his body. It’s rather amusing to me how aware young kids are these days about these changes. This generation is much more aware and educated, they know exactly what’s coming and they are not shy in talking about it. “Hey pops, did you hear my voice, it just cracked! I’m going through puberty.”
Feelings of Nostalgia
When I look at my son, and the things he’s experiencing, I can’t help but think that not so long ago I was in the same exact boat. My son is a clone of me, and I see myself when I look at him. I’m thankful that I, along with his mom, have been able to give him a different life than I experienced. By the time I was 14 years old, I had already experienced many of the cruelties that life has to offer. Thankfully, we have been able to protect, and shield him from that kind of life.
Fear of mortality
Inevitably, as my son ages, so do I. When I look in the mirror I can see the white hairs starting to sprout out on my head. I can see wrinkles, forming slowly but surely on my face. As my son complains about pimples, I struggle with losing those extra pounds. I realize that I am one step closer to old age. Mortality is a frightening concept to me, it always has been. If I had the option to live forever, then I would take it. How about you?
Feelings of guilt
Seeing my son going through his current home situation, I can’t help but feel guilty and responsible for it. His mom and I divorced years ago, due to “irreconcilable differences.” As is to be expected, she eventually met someone, and remarried. My son is not at all happy with the current living situation. This is completely understandable, most kids would have an issue with a new person entering their personal lives. It is especially noticeable to an older kid like him. All that being said, my actions, however right or wrong I think or thought they were, are part of the reason that he is in this situation today.
I’m perfectly aware of this, and I carry the cross that comes with this knowledge.
Feelings of relief
All things considered, I think me and his mom are raising a good, healthy boy. I can only pray that we can continue to do a good job as parents. I look forward to the continued privilege of seeing my son develop into a responsible member of society. We are doing our part, and he is doing his, then it’s all just a matter of time, and life.
Happy birthday papa! I say this from the bottom of my heart, I love you my boy!
Growing Up Bronx