Thirty-one years ago, I was twenty-five, Patty was just twenty-three and Nathan was thinking about finally being born. You see, according to the doctor, he was nearly a month late. He has always been one to rarely change his mind and when he found his zone, he stayed with it. So, who knows?
Always fun-loving and playful, with a serious ornery streak. He did things like gradually increasing the temperature of his sister’s water bed or setting her clock a few hours ahead the night before a school day. He challenged his teacher’s commitment to their educational craft and enjoyed conspiring with his school mates for various forms of academic mischief.
We always played rough together. When I would come home from work, generally he would hide around the corner and jump me, which was the beginning of our evening bout and could involve breaking a closet door or tumbling down the stairs together. We broke and repaired the guest closet door so many times that we began to avoid that particular location for our knockdown, drag-out bouts.
These last several years have been a resurgence for our relationship. You see, he had a household with three females and I had a house with two and after awhile guys need a respite from all of that estrogen. So, we would chat, hang out. And occasionally do a painting job together which gave my days fresh meaning and fun. Since we live close together, about every weekend the four of us wind up playing cards or watching football, eating, and drinking.
When he was young, his fearless, rough and tumble ways frequently landed him in the ER, usually for stitches. He grew to become far more conservative than his parents and has a cynical, political, comedic rant that rivals that of people who do that stuff professionally. He is insightful, if not politically correct, but he is also caring and loving, without flaunting it.
He went on to marry a woman who is as much family as one of our kids and her two beautiful daughters have given us the joy of additional grandchildren and even, a great-grandchildren.
The years have, in some ways, seen me become more like him, doing things I thought I would never do only a few years ago, like drink beer and occasionally listen to heavy music. One of his friends thinks he is corrupting me. His devotion to the Kansas City Chiefs, has finally turned me into a diehard fan and we journeyed back to St. Joseph, Missouri for training camp this year.
It is nice when you can say that you really like hanging out with your son, and I do. I always have and always will.
Happy birthday, son!
Originally posted November 28, 2010.