Monday, October 4, 2010
It's Game Time
12 years and 364 days ago, the above child was born, ushering the brave new world that is parenthood into our lives. What a ride it's been: 2 countries, 4 homes, and 3 more siblings. Part of the reason for starting this blog was to document what has gone on, and to collate in words and pictures some of the "mechanics" of fatherhood. How you can get involved on a daily basis, how you can discover what their talents are, what brings them joy and lodges deep within as a highlight of childhood, and unfortunately, examples of how you can mess it all up. Another aspect was to begin to collect my thoughts and plans for tackling the next phase: The Teen Years.
Just the mention of it can send shudders through normally well adjusted adults.
Why do we fear these years? Do we have to?
Do things HAVE to run off the rails?
I know my boy well enough to know that he will push the envelope and test us just as any other. I also know that we are involved parents, love him deeply and will do anything we can to help him grow into the man he's meant to be. My own teen years were a soul-wrenching black hole. I'm determined to make sure his are quite the opposite.
Many a time I've sat in a locker room, knowing the clock was counting down till the start of a basketball game (indulge me, I wasn't that good. Club team stuff). I'd look around and gauge how my team mates were preparing. Some joked around, seemingly oblivious. Some, like me, were quiet. But we all knew we were about to hit the hardwood, and in some seasons, knew we were in for a pounding. That's what it feels like now. I've done the work through his childhood: the metaphorical running, the sprints, some hill work, gym drills, walked through all the offensive plays, scouted the opposition, and know my team mates are there to back me up. The difference this time though, is that he's a rookie next to me on the bench, and I'm a playing coach in the game of adult life. I've got to teach him the flow of the game, introduce him at the right moments, pull him out when he's over matched and send him for the waterbottles while I deal with the opposition thug, build on his strengths, coach out the flaws, take his match-fitness to the next level, and teach him solid D. We have laid the foundation, and the tip-off buzzer is about to sound.
We are not always going to win, but we will compete.
It starts with a trip to the mountains for his 13th birthday this week, and "The Talk".
It's game time.
-part excited, part intimidated, completely committed.