After reading (and nodding) Clint’s post on Dadventure about one of the bittersweet firsts he encountered in raising his daughter, it got me thinking of all our firsts with Gus; the first step, the first time he read a book by himself, the first time he didn’t hug us when we dropped him off at childcare before school. These moments can be elating, amazing or as in Clint’s example, bittersweet.
I began thinking of the firsts we’ve seen as Gus has grown into a teen. These firsts don’t always evoke the same fond and touching memories and realizations as in earlier childhood, for example:
1. Dad is SO uncool. The first time he asked me which sneaker I liked best, “The white with red or the black with silver?” “I like the white with red,” I said. We purchased the black with silver.
2. Girls – WOW! Watching the Super Bowl half time show and Shania Twain (thankfully it wasn’t Janet Jackson), trotted around the stage in a really low cut outfit. Gus was mesmerized by the spectacle when he said under his breath, “I didn’t know they could move like that…on their own.”
3. Watch those other kids – be an involved parent. The overwhelming strength of peer pressure smacked us when he accompanied two friends to the woods. They played with fire. One friend got burned. Thankfully Gus came to his senses, brought the kid home and administered first aid he had learned in Scouts until we got home. He spent a good long while on the bench as a result, but the thought that peer pressure can outweigh what kids have been taught and what they know is wrong is very sobering.
4. Covert Ops. The first time I dropped him at a school dance, but had to do it a block away from the school.
5. Give an inch, they’ll take a mile. The first time I let him stay up late to watch a movie, now he stays up late routinely.
6. Beneath it all is a heart of gold. Though he protested (“Are you Serious?”) about helping at the local food bank last Saturday morning because guess what, HE STAYED UP TOO LATE and was tired. We had other kids from the church youth group come over to the house, and bang pots and pans in his debris riddled room until he dragged himself out of bed. He went, he helped, he genuinely showed empathy for those people. He also suggested he might like to volunteer at a retirement home. “Why there?” we asked. His reply: “Old people LOVE me!”
We all do, son. We all do (but I’m still not telling you where I hid the grill lighter).