As I posted last week, my daughter celebrated her 21st birthday on September 2.
Well, yesterday my son Riley turned 18.
Twenty-one and 18 . . . two major milestones.
Anyway, as some of you know I was in the early days unsure about my ability to be a father to a son. I knew I would do well with a daughter, but for a variety of reasons I did not have confidence when we found out that we would be having a little boy.
Eighteen years in, I can’t imagine it any other way. I worked on those fears and soon after Riley invaded our world, I realized that this relationship was just the kind of gift I needed.
While I haven’t taught him to fish, hunt, or chew tobacco, nevertheless we’ve done well together. Here are the top five things about having a son:
1. Sports & Memory. When I was six or seven, I’d cry whenever the SMU Mustangs or Dallas Cowboys lost a football game. Riley did the same thing at the same age, only with the Tampa Bay Bucs and the University of Miami Hurricanes. What is it about little boys that they invest such emotion in heroes, athletes, and teams? I don’t know the answer . . . but I do believe their focus and loyalty has something to teach us.
2. Music. What a progression. He fell asleep in my arms at a Jars of Clay concert when he was four. Then I took him to a Hanson show when he was five. Soon I introduced him to Led Zeppelin . . . and he liked it. We saw the Rolling Stones together when he was 13 — the first event ever at what was then called Bobcats Arena. And now? I watch him and his band in some of the shows they play around the area.
3. Juvenile Humor. I think most middle-age men still find the things they laughed about in high school to be funny. We’re just wound too tightly to admit it. Living and laughing with a high schooler loosens me up.
4. When They Need Us. Car wrecks. College advice. Questions of faith. Even teenage boys have times when the veneer drops and they really do need their parents.
5. My son’s a beast. That’s a good thing, by the way. It’s what they say in the gym or on the football field about people who are really strong. And he is.