Tuesday, June 5, 2007

...

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He was born early. Not dangerously so, but early nonetheless. His mother had gone in for a check up with her OB/Gyn. She had suffered with high blood pressure lately, and had been on bed rest. He was small, at only 5 pounds and a few ounces. His lungs were not quite ready, and he suffered from jaundice. He was a bit anemic as well. He stayed in the neonatal ICU for a week. When he finally went home, he weighed less than 5 pounds. None of the outfits his parents had received as baby gifts fit him. Even the diapers were too big. His family had to find "preemie" diapers for him. His father could hold him completely in both hands.

When he was 3 years old, his mother and father split. His mother and he left to live with another man. His father was devastated. He could at least handle his wife leaving; they had had their issues. But his son...that was different. He missed the way he ran to him every afternoon when he got home from work and called "daddy!" He missed playing on the floor with him. He missed his buddy. His father ended up working 60 or even 80 hours a week because when he got home, he found he didn't want to be there.

About 6 months later, he came back to live with his father. His mother had issues and his father had fought for him, and won. He couldn't understand why mommy and daddy couldn't be together. He often cried when it was time to go to bed. When his father asked why he said he wanted mommy and daddy together. He didn't know that seeing him hurt was worse for his father than it was for him. He didn't know that his father cried too as he held him and rocked him to sleep.

After a while, his dad met a nice girl and remarried. He was the ring bearer in the wedding. He had a "step-mom" at home now. By this time his birth mother had moved several times, and had very little contact with him. He didn't hear from her for over a year once, and often only every few months at a time. His "step-mom" loved him very much, and they were quite close. She would continue to be much more of a "mom" to him than his birth mom ever would.

When his little brother came along, he was Mr. Helpful. He was protective and loving. He liked to hold "the baby". It was very much the ideal of a family. His second little brother came along a few years later. It was a good time in all their lives.

He went hunting and fishing with his dad and grandfather. His dad often tells the story of his first spring turkey hunt; His dad had set up the decoy, and was working the slate call, about 15 yards from him. He was sitting holding his shotgun ready as 6 gobblers walked behind them at less than 20 yards. He couldn't turn to shoot, and his dad was afraid he would scare them off. As they left, his dad and he quickly got up and ran about 50 yards to another opening. They quickly set up and dad started calling again. Right away, one of the young gobblers came in to the decoy. Dad and he were again about 1o yards apart. Dad says he could see the shotgun wobbling up and down an all around because he was so excited. He never took a shot, but his dad says it was one of the best hunts he had been on, just seeing how excited and happy he was.

Being older, he helped his dad a lot around the house. He learned to work on things. He learned to use tools, and work with wood and metal. He was a quick learner. He helped his dad mow, running the Weed eater string trimmer. When he was a young teenager, he used his "talent" to get mowing jobs near his house. He made pretty good money for so young a boy. Often he could be seen pushing a mower down the street with a weed eater over the handle, to one of his customer’s house.

Into his teenage years, things were getting tough around his home. Competing loyalties between his dad and birth mother, and just being a teenager took a toll on his relationships with his dad and (step)mom. He was so much like his dad had been, and was, that it was getting harder and harder for them to get along well. Both were independent, strong, and smart men. It was hard for both of them to be so close together. He didn't want to give in to his father, and his father couldn't give in to him. His father wanted to help him and guide him to avoid the pitfalls he himself had experienced. He wanted his father to leave him alone to make his own choices. His father wanted him to live up to his capabilities. He wanted to make his own decisions.

He graduated High School this year. The situation and tension with his dad came to a head. He didn’t want to submit to his dad’s authority. He lived at home, but acted if it were his own place with his own rules. He felt that he was now an adult and could come and go and do as he pleased. His dad felt that he was living under his roof, he should follow his rules. Neither would give in.

He moved out yesterday.

He didn’t go far, just to the next town. He went to his Nanna and Peepaws (dad’s parents) to live in their upstairs garage apartment. He’s on his own, but with a safety net. He will be going to college in the summer and fall, while continuing to work at the part-time job he has had for 2 years.

His dad is proud of him, not for leaving, but for being who he is. He’s also both saddened that he left, and relieved at the same time. Saddened that they couldn’t “make it work”, and relieved that now they can treat each other more as equals instead of having the constant test of wills that had been going on for so long.

I don’t know if he will ever find this blog. If he does, I want him to remember one thing:

I love you son.


Mr Fixit

10 comments:

DW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DW said...

Fixit,
You have done well, he'll start to see how smart you are soon. Been there done that and still carry the scars. I hit mine and threw him out, ugly to say the least, it took him six weeks to see where I was coming from. Today he is a manager, and the best of his district.
The apple truly doesn't fall far from the tree. My son sounds just like me sometimes, yours will too.

Ambulance Driver said...

That was one of the very best posts you've done, Mr. Fixit.

And if he's learned half the lessons you tried to teach him, he'll do well.

Amanda said...

You are truly an official Awesome Dad.

I wish I had some sort of tag or banner for that.

But you are, lack of tags and banners nothwitstanding.

Mrs. Who said...

Letting go is so hard...but it's the only way for them to stand on their own.

Anonymous said...

Being 19, and away for a year at college, was great for my own growth, and it made the time I spent with my family a better quality. I hope you find that with your son

Brandon said...

Mr. Fixit,

You sound like an excellent dad & I'm sure that your son knows that you love him. Give him some time & I'm sure that he will acknowledge that fact & thank you someday for everything that you've done for him.

Blue Ridge Medic said...

Sounds a lot like my teenage years. Now I look back at all the mistakes I made and how my Dad tried to steer me clear of all of them. He's really gotten smart over the last 10 years or so. Your boy will figure that out about you too. Good luck.

Regards,
BRM

P.S. I'm gonna link to you, hope you don't mind.

armed_and_christian said...

I'll keep both of you in prayer.

I have a 13 y/o and a 16 y/o son, and I couldn't help but think of the tears I have shed (and will cry) over the two of them.

Fatherhood is certainly not for the faint-of-heart. At this point, I have to imagine that the hardest part is when they leave and you think of how inadequately you have prepared them for life on their own, all the things you wish you'd done differently, and the things you wish you'd taught them.

Ahab said...

Fixit - you did your part; there's only so much that you can do.

Trust me, my dad did his part; then I had to go "be my own man" for a few years.

About 7 years later, I wrote this for him.

Don't worry too much.