A Father’s Love. Happy Birthday to my Son.

This kids is now 20

Do your kids know you love them? Let me rephrase and get specific. Do your adult kids know you love them? From my experience and observations its not such an easy question. Coming through the turmoil that many teens put their parents and family through hard feelings are developed and those hard feelings can and sometimes do last a lifetime. Sadly, they usually extend from child to parent and not the other way around. I know there are exceptions. But I honestly can’t imagine a father’s love dissipating because of teen troubles.

These thoughts are on my mind today as my one and only son turns 20 years old. There are lots of milestone birthday’s but to me this is THE big one. Legally we all become adults at 18 years of age, and at 21 we are legally able to drink in most states. But at twenty you leave behind the teens, the label you’ve had stuck on you for seven years, and you become in the eyes of the world…not just the law…a real adult.

Coming just over 2 weeks from Christmas I’ve always felt my wife and I didn’t adequately recognize and celebrate my son’s birthday. I regret that. And this year is no different. My son has plans. He’s 20. Of course he does. And, of course, he will the rest of his life. Our time has past.

My initial question weighs on my mind. I can’t imagine that I’m the only parent who thinks about such things. Our oldest daughter is now 24. Her challenges as a teen were shocking and remarkable for her mother and I. We really were not prepared. We did the best we could but we felt derailed and couldn’t figure out why our perfect little girl had turned into such a handful. Then it was my son’s turn. Having been close at hand and witnessing the many challenges our daughter laid before us and the whole family I really couldn’t imagine our son wanting to go through and put us through such pain. But he did. And it was not good. The arguing, the yelling, the disappointments, the crushing disappointments. It was really heart breaking.

Obviously I’m not being specific. And you don’t need to imagine two awful little tyrants (either our kids, or us parents). It doesn’t matter. Because fortunately it’s behind us. My daughter lives away from us and while we can hardly say we like everything she does. It’s OK. It’s perfectly OK. It’s her life and my love for her is eternal. My son is still in our home and is still in need of Mom and Dad, or at least our home and food. And his current life is not completely as I’d want it but like our oldest, it’s OK. Isn’t it? Isn’t it the same with your adult kids?

I can say with complete and unwavering conviction I love my kids. I would die for them. I would give all that I own for them. And when we’re apart I miss them terribly. And I’m confident they love me. So my worries aren’t deep, but because of the troubles of the past AND my own feelings toward my own failed parents…some tiny doubt remains. And that tiny doubt sucks. Am I the only one? Tell me. Do the troubles of the teens carry into hard feelings for adult kids? What is your experience?

For me, I won’t be caught off guard if the troubles return. I’ll certainly handle them better…for I still have a 13 year old daughter who at present shows no sign of going through the challenges of her siblings. But its coming. And when it does I’ll be prepared. And I’ll love her too. For a father’s love is unbreakable.

The "Schwa"

Happy birthday to my beautiful and wonderful son.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

My favorite Christmas’

Christmas lights 2010

Christmas lights

An epiphany hit me a few years back that will forever enable me to value Christmas even more than I already do. It dawned on me that if you’re lucky you’ll enjoy about 80 Christmas’ in a lifetime. Eighty! That’s all. Obviously some will enjoy 100, and sadly some will only be present to enjoy an extraordinary few. So I’m averaging.

It seemed to me that 80 wasn’t much. I mean, if you packed them all back to back you don’t even get three months worth. Then when you subtract the first 3-5 years that you will never remember, and subtract the holidays when you have to work, and subtract the times when circumstances keep you from your loved ones the number diminishes more and more.

So for a celebration I have already always enjoyed, I vowed to really cherish each Christmas, and to remember them.

My childhood Christmas celebrations were usually fabulous. For this I can thank my father. Dad was really big on Christmas. He always decorated the house with the most lights of any other on our middle class block. And he spoiled my brother and I with everything we wanted every year and a few things we didn’t know we wanted. I distinctly remember one shopping season when I went out of my way to ask my Dad NOT to buy me the increasingly popular plaid shirts that every department store seemed to have. I didn’t like them. I got two that Christmas. I didn’t wear them for months…but then gave in to the fad and wore them all the time.

Fonzie (interpreted by Henry Winkler), star of...

The Fonz

When The Fonz was real popular on the TV showHappy Days” in the late 70s I asked for a leather jacket as a gift. I wanted to look like Arthur Fonzerelli. I guess I wasn’t specific enough. Because my Dad did buy me a leather coat. But it was a bomber’s style coat. The kind with the furry collar lapel. Again, I didn’t like it at first. But like my Dad somehow always knew…I came to love it. I wore it religiously from age 13 well into my 30s when my added 20 pounds didn’t make it a good look any more. I gave it to my son about 5 years ago. Like me he didn’t like it or ever wear it…until recently. In the past 2 months he doesn’t go anywhere without it. You better believe I love that.

I was working on Christmas Day 1985 as a DJ at a small country music station. But before working the night shift and after visiting my Mom’s home and then my Dad’s, I managed to squeeze in a short 10 minute visit at my girlfriend’s house. There, at the age of 21, I asked my girlfriend to be my wife. I gave her a humble diamond ring; black hills gold leafs with a small diamond laying between them. My wife deserved so much more. So on Christmas morning 2007 after our kids excitedly woke us up to tell us that Santa had come, before getting out of bed, I rolled over, reached into my nightstand and pulled out the ring’s replacement. The much larger stone and white gold looked beautiful on her finger. And still does.

But easily my all time favorite Christmas was 1998. Our house was full with visiting family from California, and as usual we hosted the Christmas dinner. All our loved ones were there. My pregnant wife went into labor right after we’d all enjoyed our desserts, and around 8:30pm Christmas night we waved goodbye to all those people in our house and drove to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, WA where we were presented at 6:03 am December 26th, 1998 with our all-time best Christmas gift. We gave our daughter the name Micah Noel. Micah being the Biblical prophet who foretold the birth of a savior in the City of David, Bethlehem. And, of course, Noel the 14th Century English word for Christmas.

I’ve been blessed with many great Christmas’; but these are the highlights. May your day be special and most important may it be a memory representative of how few of these holy days we get to enjoy in our very short lives.

English: Nativity scene

The birth of Jesus

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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