- Growing Up Bronx
Today is my son’s birthday. I’ve marked it by joking that he has now entered the legal age of consent in NYS, and he can now hook up with adult women. I know, I’m weird in how I label and celebrate milestones.
No, but seriously speaking, being his dad all these years, and watching him grow up and go through all these different stages has been the honor of my life. I took that one from Obama, I know. He’s 17 years old today, and so far, along with his mother, (primarily her) we have done a good job of raising a functional member of society.
I never forget how hard it was, and how much it hurt to have the little man ask me, “Why aren’t you living with me and mom?” The guilt I felt over that, immeasurable. I’ve spent my life and days trying to make up for that by being a good father. Even though I’m not always physically present, I’ve tried to always be present, if that makes sense.
He’s a good kid. He’s never messed with drugs, never committed any crimes, (small or big) unless you consider throwing an orange at a storefront a crime. Personally, I find it pretty hilarious, albeit mischievous. However, considering what I went through growing up, I’m very happy with how he has turned out. By 17 years of age, I have been through so much.
My boy’s a bit lazy, not gonna lie, he’s a bit of a slacker. He doesn’t have the same discipline and drive that his mom and I had during our academic years, but he’s getting by okay, and I’m sure he’ll find his way. We are all built differently, and though I get on him at times about it, I acknowledge his individuality.
His passion is art, and that is where all his drive is focused on. Rather than berate him over and over about how he is when it comes to school, since he is making his grades, and getting by, I feed and enable his artistic interests. Like I said, we all have our interests, and we are all individuals. I know that some people will disagree with me, and get on me for not being more strict with him, but to them I say: piss off. I appreciate your concern, but let us be.
The fact of the matter is, none of us will ever use those damn algebraic equations in real life, and he’s smart enough to know this. So how can I make the case for drilling it in your head, when I know it’s useless? I tell him, you will need this to get through the education process. You need the education process cause it’s part of the game, and those cartoon companies will not hire you without any educational credentials. Of course, he can make it own his own, but that’s always a risk and not guaranteed. I don’t want no 30 year old sleeping in my living room, so let’s go ahead and tilt the odds in favor of success, okay? Hahah.
My son is smart, funny, and makes me laugh a lot. As he gets older now, we share more adult moments and get some good laughs as men. He’s still a bit shy about his friends knowing about me, he gets a bit embarrassed, but I get that.
I’m probably not the easiest person to have for a dad. I’m not like these other old, uptight fathers. I sing karaoke, I make stupid videos, I goof off and have fun. That’s embarrassing for a high schooler, I get it.
Soon he’ll embark on a journey to college, and shortly thereafter he’ll enter the workforce. It is a thing of beauty seeing all of this, but it is also terrifying. It reminds me that I am getting older. It brings to the forefront the gray hairs on my face, and head. It reminds me of how quick life is, and that someday soon, I’ll be an incapacitated old man who can’t even wipe his own butt.
However, until that time comes, I’ll continue to share my time with my kid. I’ll continue to be the best father and role model that I can be. And I am grateful for getting old as it is a privilege denied to many.
Happy birthday my son, I love you today, and will love you always,
Growing Up Bronx