It is also the week that my son graduates from middle school which is a firm indicator that I have been a father for more time than the blur in my memory indicates.
I remember when all of my children were born and have very distinct memories surrounding their births but one moment from the first time juts out at me.
An offhand remark someone made about how I would blink and he would be starting high school.
Well, I blinked and now high school is only a few months away.
And now a comment that I saw as being the epitome of hyperbole has proven to be true. I can’t really be old enough to be the father of a teenager who in a few years will be driving and in a handful more heading off to college.
Really, if I check the calendar we’ll see that we are worried about Y2k and I’ll wonder if the 21st century is going to be as cool as everyone says.
One Door Closes & Another Opens
Experience has taught me to be aware that some people have a bad habit of believing everything they read online so I ought to add I am aware that it is 2015 and not 1999.
On the off chance you are among the crowd who were uncertain about whether I knew what year it is I want to suggest you read Twenty-Three Links That Can Mean Anything because it might be helpful.
The rest of you are welcome to check those out too or to continue our conversation and to hear how my daughter asked me what it feels like to have been born in the sixties and to have graduated high school in the eighties.
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to answer that because she hasn’t had enough life experience to appreciate the changes I have seen.
If I told her how different my life has been because of technology and my not having been good enough to play for the Dodgers she would say she understood but she really doesn’t.
That is ok, a girl who is a few hairs shy of 11 shouldn’t be able to relate to these things.
Instead we spent a few moments talking about endings and new beginnings. I am sure it won’t be the last time we cover the bit about how endings lead to new beginnings either.
It also won’t be the last time I pull out a picture I have taken to try to make a point or use as a teaching moment.
There was a part of me that wanted to shame the driver of the car in person. A part that wanted to make eye contact and point out how rude and obnoxious it was to intentionally park that way.
A luxury car doesn’t bestow special rights upon the driver/owner. If you are that worried about your car being hit by another you shouldn’t drive it, especially if you are going to park in a small strip mall.
I didn’t do it because it seemed like a waste of time. The driver knew full well that they were being a jerk and they didn’t care so I decided there were better uses of my time than to try and make them change their bad behavior.
People have to pick and choose their battles.
So I showed the picture to the kids and talked about courtesy and about not letting the car own you.
That means if a time comes where I can afford to spend that kind of cash on a car I’ll do it provided I am willing to park it and walk away without constantly wondering if it’s going to be dinged up.
Change & Accomplishments
When the children ask me to tell them about my childhood and how different things are now I sometimes talk about how technology has influenced things.
Sometimes that turns into a short discussion about social media and how to use it. Sometimes it is a conversation about the benefits of being tech savvy and knowing how to make it work for you and not against you.
Most of the time I focus it upon the importance of knowing how how to work with people because the skills you need to get along with others never change.
Your ability to communicate, to make people feel valued, supported and understood is sometimes more important than any of your accomplishments.
Life is always going to be filled with changes and your ability to roll with those is critical too.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a preteen, teenager or an almost middle aged man either.
It is almost 11 on Sunday night and I am not sure how I want to end this post so I push the chair back from the desk and check on the kids.
The soon to be graduate of elementary school is fast asleep so I can’t ask her why she thinks it is ok to have left her room a mess.
Maybe I’ll attribute that to a lesson learned from the teen next door. He is awake, headphones on his ears, he pauses the music to tell me he doesn’t have any homework and isn’t tired.
“Don’t worry dad, I am going to put my clothes away tonight.”
“Don’t worry, I am not going to let you fail. I’ll take your phone now so you remember.”
He makes a face but stands up and puts his clothes away and as I close his door and wander down the hall to open mine I wonder about coincidence and symbolism.
But mostly I wonder if the next decade or so will go as fast as the last. I sure hope not, I want to savor this time and stretch it out a bit.