Fathers and boys get to share some special moments together over their lifetimes. Those moments will always bring a smile and warm feeling in the chest when remembered by each of them. They start early and continue to end of Dad’s days. Maybe some of these will refresh your memory and bring pleasant emotions to bear on your day.
When you son is first-born there is one thing that all dads do without usually saying anything about it and often trying to do it without anyone noticing. We all count those fingers and toes to make sure everything is accounted for. But every dad in those early hours after birth will also take a peek to make sure his son’s “equipment” is there and normal. Admit it, you did with each son. Just making sure and your were relieved it was as it should be.
That first year or so the boys are almost totally in the care and under the watch of their moms. Dads help out if they are good dads but there is no question they are in the back seat. But when that little guy starts walking and moving around then the dad can get involved more directly again. When they are very little they watch Dad like a hawk on the prowl. They absorb every move dad makes. They are especially fascinated with the tools when dad has to make some minor repair around the house. Dads usually buy them their first tool kit toy set before they are two. Remember your son at your knee watching every detail when you adjusted the doorknob or fixed a leaky faucet? No matter that it was a simple affair and nothing brilliant you were so intrigued with the attention your son paid to your every move.
A few years down the road and you will be teaching him something–whether to ski or fish or whatever. Normally you have a hard enough time getting him to obey and follow your instructions but when you finally get to a “guy” thing he will be all eyes and ears for you. Nothing more fun they watching him try to take that first fish he caught off the hook. He wants to so bad but then when he touches it and it wiggles and the gills poke him he looks to your help one more time anyway.
Decades later you will regret all those times you said no when he asked you to come out in the yard and throw the football with him. You were too tired and watching TV. But the times you did get out there you taught him how to hold the ball, throw it with his whole body and catch it with his hands not his body. Those fall afternoons will live in your memory for years.
Then there is watching the sports together or listening to them on the radio. I still remember how excited I would be when in the fall my dad would be home on a Saturday and not working and we would get together around the radio to listen to a Southwest Conference game together. I felt like my dad was really including me in the men’s world. He would talk about the plays and players and explain things for me. I hated it when the game was over.
When your boys starts playing organized sports you were there. Whether it was football, hockey, or soccer didn’t matter but you wanted to watch him participate and see how he handled himself. Sooner or later he will have some successful play or game. He’ll do something special and the two of you will talk it over and replay it again and again. There are moments of despair when things don’t go well but also times of exhilarating joy when they do. Sort of a mirror of life to come. He’ll ask about when you played sports and you’ll tell him and you’ll want to listen to his view of his games. It is not the ultimate success on the sports field that is so important but the experience of sharing those moments together.
At some point hopefully got to take your son on a guy thing outing, like a deer or turkey hunt. Usually you were with other men and maybe another son or two. It was a time for bonding without any women around. You remember the excitement when you first went with your dad on one of these. Just getting all the gear ready was a thrill, cleaning the guns and getting out the special boots and camping equipment. Then you were off on the road trip for a few days. There was a campfire and the cooking which was not always so good but lots of it. No one complained much about the burned food and scalded coffee. You might have had your first cup of coffee on one of these trips. Then of course there was the teaching from your dad about how to look for the deer sign and how to hide yourself from them. On my first one I was so lucky when on the way back to camp we jumped a buck and it took off running and leaping. I took a shot and sure enough brought it down on the run from over a hundred yards. It was 99% luck but Dad was so happy for me. He even paced off the distance. Then I had to learn that a little work comes with the pleasure and he taught me how to field dress the deer. That was more work and messier than I had planned for. But I will cherish every trip we made even those we had together after I was grown. You do too.
Toward the end Dads will regret they didn’t have more time with their family and sons and had done more. The sons will regret that they didn’t listen more to their dads and let them know how much they did appreciate them and all they taught them by example. But life happens and hopefully the joys in your life with your son far outweigh the regrets. Remember you were blessed with so many special moments and the young dads need to treasure them when the happen.
Remember the example you set everyday, dad, tis true the apple won’t fall far from the tree. www.olcranky.wordpress.com