But the one I probably should hit is this because in some ways it is closest to my current thoughts.
Twenty years now
Where’d they go?
I don’t know
sit and I wonder sometimes
Where they’ve gone
Dad told me 23 years ago to get out of Dodge because he thought it was one of the smartest moves I could make and dammit, he was right.
The thing is when you are 27 and determined to be your own man you don’t always listen to the advice you are given and sometimes you come to realize you should have listened.
Because if you ask if it is a mathematical certainty sometimes the answer is “yes motherfucker, you done fucked up” at which point a wiser man stops with the euphemisms and recognizes he made a mistake.
During one of those final conversations with the old man I shared that and a couple of thoughts surrounding it. He gave me his responses and we shared a moment only fathers and sons of a certain age and life experience can share.
Which reminds me of a time in which someone made a comment and asked a question to which they got a response they probably didn’t expect.
“If you aren’t sleeping with me you don’t get to ask that question or give me your ideas” but the truth is there are lines that I won’t let be crossed regardless of situation and circumstances.
So maybe that sort of comment is silly on my part because like Johnny says I keep a close watch on this heart of mine and that is a mathematical certainty.
I have a memory like an elephant for many things such as who provides support and who doesn’t and who follows through and who doesn’t.
If you are a Game of Thrones fan and you want to geek out you can say I adore the line “The North Remembers” because it is me.
Ok, let’s qualify that by saying I remember those who screwed me over and did me wrong with far too much clarity. It takes no effort for me to stay angry with some, especially those who think they can repeat the same behaviors without consequence.
There are certain situations that exist now in particular because I remember and the genesis of such things goes back twenty plus years.
Dad told me way back when how to minimize some of that but I can’t go back so I don’t.
What I can and do is draw boundaries and demonstrate crossing those has repercussions. I cannot confirm nor deny having pointed out why some things are as they are and how they connect to the past.
Sometimes when you poke the bear you discover he ignores the poking long enough to be able to turn around and let you know he is going to take a chunk out of you in a way you cannot forget.
Might not be my finest trait but it isn’t entirely negative. That tenacity has lead to success and to getting through some particularly hellish situations.
It is something I have pointed out to the children more than once by illustrating how they have used it.
I believe in letting the kids fall down and figure out how to get back up. Everyone falls and everyone fails and if you can’t determine what source of strength you can call upon when no one is there to help you are in big trouble.
You don’t want to let the hard times and stuff destroy a kid’s confidence but you don’t want them to believe mom and dad will fight every battle either.
A reader asked if I ever fought with dad and I choked on my water.
Did we fight?
Oh hell did we ever.
He always loved me but to use his line I bet dollars to donuts there were times he didn’t like me very much.
The benefit of being a hair short of 50 and almost 19 years of parenting is I see things now so very differently than I once did and I appreciate what he tried to do and why far better.
I made a point to tell him that some of the stuff he was up against was never going to go his way because I was so determined to prove to him and to me that I could do certain things.
Did I cut my nose to spite my face?
Yeah, more than once but there were some successful moments interspersed among it all too.
He made sure to point out some of those failures and some of those successes.
“Teenagers will make you crazy, but remember sometimes they are right. Sometimes they figure out a better way for themselves to do certain things.”
I smiled and asked him how good he was about letting us do some things he thought was doomed to failure.
“Not very good.”
When I said I would try to do better he laughed.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because we all say it but I hope it works for you.”
It was a sincere wish and I suppose I have to let time speak for my successes and failures there.
I suppose I am going to have to admit to being middle aged soon and I suppose it is a normal time of life for transitions.
Got all sorts of stuff going on along with questions and confirmations of thoughts and ideas.
Who I was I am not and who I am to become remains to be determined. Go back 25-30 years and the kid never would have predicted any of this, but he had some thoughts and ideas that might still be.
Should be interesting to see what materializes and what doesn’t.