What My Son Means to Me

What My Son Means to Me

Where do I begin? Well, I suppose with the simple truth that the birth of my son was just slightly behind my meeting & falling in love with his mother? My son is quite simply, the bedrock of my life. I was & probably am once again, considered a root-less, wandering vagabond but when my son came into this world, I settled down and felt more grounded than I have ever been. Why? Because here was a new life, an innocent babe brought into this world because he was wanted & loved before he was even born. His mother and I went through the LaMazz method of childbirth, and I was in the delivery room when he was delivered. I have never felt such sympathy for a fellow human being as when I saw the pain his mother went through in delivering him. The doctor said prior to his final attempt at delivery, “I’m going to try one more time with the suction but if it doesn’t work, I’m going to use the forceps.” This scared the hell out of me because I’d heard of many tragic consequences of using forceps in delivery. Thankfully my son came out on the last attempt with suction but as soon as he came out, they rushed him into a corner of the room and got on the intercom and yelled “STAT!” I know what that means, that means get your ass here right now because there are complications and it’s deadly serious.

A few moments after the message of “STAT!” three other people came rushing into the delivery room and I wanted desperately to go over and see what was happening but I was afraid that I might be in their way so I stayed by my wife’s side and prayed. Our son spent the first week of his life in intensive care in a plastic box with wires attached all over him. His mother never left the hospital so she could breast feed him and be there should anything come up. I visited regularly and had to struggle to not break down in tears each time I visited. The nurses in intensive care should all get medals of honor for their dedication & compassion for their patients.

When my son was finally allowed to come home, it was a bit spooky because neither his mom nor I, had any experience as to how to care for a newborn baby. We basically just learned as we went along and read lots of books and talked & questioned every parent we came into contact with. I treasure the memories of dancing around our kitchen with my son’s head in the palm of my hand and his body only extending as far as the crook of my arm. I told my wife that I was giving him early dance lessons. I remember us giving him baths in the kitchen sink because it was large enough to place a plastic tub in. I also recall the special warmth of our son sharing our bed and my worrying, what if I roll over in my sleep and crush him? But, our subconscious takes care of such things and is always on guard, and I never crushed my beautiful boy.

I remember the indescribable joy of waking in the morning and seeing our son fast asleep between my wife and I, and of the calm & beauty of her face and his & the sense that life was now complete.

I remember initiating asking my boy for a hug and his waddling across the living room floor and giving me a hug. And I especially loved it when he would ask for a hug. When my son was in pre-school, I was a substitute teacher and on days that I didn’t get called to work, I would pick him up early and we’d do something together. I got into building various wood projects around the house e.g. a swing, a fence, bookcases, etc., and I’d take my son with me when I went to the hardware store. One day I asked my son what he’d like to be when he grew up, his answer was “A Builder’s Emporium,” a chain of large hardware stores like Home Depot. We would put up his funny & unique sayings on the refrigerator.

Some of the most precious moments of my son’s early life were when we’d be walking along and he’d take my hand as if to say it gave him comfort or reassurance. People used to remark “your son is so mellow, what do you do to make him this way?” His mother and I were always amused at such remarks because we didn’t feel we did anything unique or special, all we did was talk to him like he was a human being i.e. a separate person but with a mind of his own. We didn’t talk baby talk to him, we addressed him in an honest and serious manner on important issues and we simply loved him and hugged & kissed him as much as possible.

One of my fondest memories was one day when I picked him up from his pre-school, his teacher told me “you know, the other kids still talk baby talk but your son is different. He told me the other day that when he grew up, we would have a business together and he’d drive the truck and I’d run the office.” Yes, this was my son’s early years. And as my son progressed this elementary school, he was a loving, compassionate, & generous boy. He never forgot his mother’s birthday nor mine. He made special gifts, cards, & meals for his mother and I on Father’s Day & Mother’s Day.

I recall thinking many times how freaky, strange, or eerie it was that my son was so similar to me in so many ways as he grew. And one of the most profound experiences was one night when I was reading him a bedtime story, around the age of eight, I believe? I had the idea of reading him a simple story of a wandering vagabond written by perhaps my all-time favorite author, Hermann Hesse. I didn’t get but six or seven pages into the story when my son said, “that’s you dad.” And it makes me very sad because I feel that my son knew me much better when he was seven or eight years old than he does today. But, the greatest experience my son and I ever shared was when I took him to Europe when he was eleven years old.

My mother had just passed away and I had a chunk of money and felt this would be the perfect opportunity to open the world to my son and knowing that in a couple of years he would be a teenager and would no longer want to hang out with dad, I decided to hit while the skillet was hot. In a nutshell, it was the experience of a lifetime because not only was I his father, but I also got to play tourist guide. We spent a month traveling Europe and I used every opportunity to teach my son street sense or street smarts. I looked for ways to build his confidence and we were truly a team. I told him at one point, “this will always be a special bond between you and me, sometime in the future we may be somewhere and either you or I may say, doesn’t that remind you of such and such a place on our trip to Europe?” Yes, I will always treasure the memories of that summer, and the month of August 1997 when my son and I explored the world together!

No matter how near or how far, I will always be there for you my son, no matter what I have to do!

Love Always,
Your father

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