Although I’ve talked a little bit about him, I think it’s time to direct a bit more light toward my awesome son. Many people may think they have the best child in the world; I’m one of those. And he came into my life totally by accident. Well, just in a matter of speaking…
He wasn’t planned. Being young and carefree, my wife and I were not concerned with birth control. So I guess the arrival of a baby should not have been a big surprise. When my wife was pregnant, I insisted that we not find out what the gender of the baby was with a sonogram. But not able to withstand surprise (she even read the last few pages of each new book to determine if she wanted to dive in), she asked the doctor anyway. I did not accompany her on that visit, but she greeted me with a huge smile when I arrived from work that evening. I knew what had happened, so I asked her. 98 percent certainty that the baby was a girl. I was disappointed; she was elated. In the delivery room, the anesthesiologist kept telling my wife “Here comes that beautiful girl.” I’m sure that I was grimacing. The doctor lifted the baby up and said “Does a girl have these?”
Our son was such a low-maintenance child. All he craved was attention. And he got it in big doses. Having lost a set of premature twins a year and a half earlier, my wife and I had a ball with the new baby – cheering him on at each milestone: his crawling, walking, talking. Since he was the first baby in the family (first grandchild to both sets of our parents), he was doted on incessantly. He was almost always smiling and happy. When he did manage to get a little grumpy, all you had to do was tickle him a bit and he would break into infectious laughter.
I’m sure many parent were and are enchanted by their children, but I was mesmerized. I had gotten what I wanted – to have a son and be a father.
Before he was three, I had come out and his mother and I had divorced. I became a weekend dad. It didn’t make much difference. I would pick him up from his mom’s every other , and we would spend a whole weekend of just dad and son time. I would always ask him, “So, what are we doing this weekend?” He loved to call the shots, and we would do almost anything he wanted.
When I moved to , I had a difficult time withdrawing from our biweekly contact. But I did make the trip back to once a month to share a weekend with him. And we talked on the phone a couple of times a week. The closer he got to his teen years, he wanted to talk on the phone every day. I understood and reveled in his want of daily conversations with me.
When he did get to his mid-teen years, he moved to Houston to live with me. That lasted about six months. With my not being much of a disciplinarian and with his lack of interest in conventional education (and not bothering to attend school at all), his grades went south quickly. His mom and I decided that it was a good idea for him to return to Louisiana.
When he graduated high school, he again came to live with me. Once more, he lasted about six months. Turns out that he is more of a county boy than a city one. One night he looked up at a sky bright with urban lights and told me “I miss my stars.”
24 years passed so quickly. He just started college. He is engaged to a wonderful young lady. I am so proud of him. I tell him just that and frequently.
My partner and I are going to Louisiana to visit him and his fiancée this weekend. His mother will come to visit as well. We will play dominos, watch movies, laugh and just enjoy each others’ company.
Over the course of his life, I have told him repeatedly that he is the best son that I could have ever hoped for. I began to get it back. I started hearing that I am the best father in the world. While he and I were talking on the phone the other day, I heard the words “You’re my best friend, Dad.”