The Talk

I knew the day was coming, but the school curriculum pretty much sealed the date. My oldest son’s class will soon be covering HIV in science and with it will come some talk about ‘changes’ they are all going through. Rather than have a bunch of squirrelly school boys educating each other, I thought I’d step in.

After having a nice lunch I thought I’d take him for a drive where we could discuss the topic with some privacy. After pulling into a parking lot and turning off the vehicle, I knew he was suspicious about why I wasn’t getting out. Nothing can prepare you for the awkwardness that this moment brings and once I started there was no turning back. I was going to have ‘the talk’ whether either of us were ready for it.

I must have gotten a little too graphic because at one point he complained of having a stomach ache and actually got out of the van to sit down in the parking lot. I thought he was going to refund his lunch. After the initial queasiness wore off I found out a little about what he knew and let him know where the boundaries were. We even shared some stories that we could both laugh about. Ultimately I wanted him to know that if he ever had questions about anything, that he could come talk to me.

Afterward he looked at me and said, “Dad, I feel more mature right now.” I told him how proud we were of the young man he was becoming but that he was still a boy and not to get carried away with his ‘maturity’. He’s a smart kid and I know he’ll learn more than what I’ve told him today, but being there to teach him the secret handshake of manhood was quite the experience. The talk with son number two will be in another three years. I should be ready.

Walking Tall

Well, it finally happened. Sometime yesterday our oldest son grew up. After weeks of persistent begging, we granted him permission to walk home after school – by himself. Okay, not exactly all by himself (ultimately I think that’s what complicated the decision to allow it).

He may be a responsible and mature fifth grader, but his little first grade brother is a bit of a… well… he’s a bit of a lallygagger. We live only blocks from the school – a distance the average person can walk comfortably in a matter of minutes, but our littlest one likes to stop and smell the roses – all the roses – along the way. Suddenly that brisk ten minute walk turns into a dawdling twenty minute marathon.

That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing except that our oldest likes to stay on somewhat of a schedule (much like his mom). When he gets held up, he gets frustrated and when he gets frustrated he corrects whatever causes that frustration – sometimes forcibly. All we could imagine was our eldest son dragging his little brother screaming bloody murder the whole three blocks home.

Instead, I’m told, it was quite the opposite. Arriving at the front door roughly ten minutes after school let out was a very proud big brother, smiling ear-to-ear with his little brother happily following a half-step behind him.

The whole ordeal has been somewhat of a bittersweet rite of passage. We’re proud of the young man our son is becoming but sad to see him grow up so fast. Where did the time go?