Comparisons to one’s own youth make for easy fodder as a person who primarily writes about being a father. Looking back, growing up was neither difficult nor easy for me as a child of divorce. I was never truly left wanting nor showered with the abundance of my peers. I loved my mother and my father and my sister fiercely, but with the tempered passion of a tall, slightly overweight boy trying to find his way through an emotionally charged dissipating relationship between a working mother and every second weekend father.
My adolescence was obviously where I lashed out; getting caught for everything. Smoking, drinking, recreational drug use, skipping school; all because of the lackadaisical planning of a cherub-faced boy devilishly wanting to bask in negative attention. I blamed my best friend for everything, my parents brushed it off and I continued on with my fuckery until the consequences became so dire that bottom was reached and things slowly started turning around.
And turn around they did. Eventually. There were some stumbles, both tiny and reckless with profound choices that turned out insignificant and insignificant choices that turned out profound. I found a profession that fit my people skills and afforded me the opportunity to write. And then I met my wife and everything fell into place. My two boys? The endless icing on the end of the spoon.
I say all this because sometimes I push Hud to hard. To excel, to adapt, to reach higher and higher when things very much could be out of his reach. I am learning more and more that while the occasional nudge toward something is ok, the flat out two hand to the back shove can backfire, leaving him disgruntled and apathetically crumbled on the ground.
Maybe, just maybe that allowing him to find things on his own, on his own time can provide him with the layers of confidence he desperately needs to carve his own path.
I took my time, why can’t he?
Yesterday he came home and told us he signed up for house league basketball at school. We asked the questions we usually ask in these uncommon independent moments. Who else signed up? Were you forced to sign up? Why didn’t you tell us about this?
So he did it.