The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

September 3, 2007

Passages, Passages


I really should have done this post last November.

My son and I are both November babies...I'm a Scorpio and he's a Sagittarius, which doesn't mean a whole lot of anything.

The point is, our birthdays are 12 days apart every year. More importantly, they're 36 years and 12 days apart over the true span of time and longevity. Last November, I turned 51. Twelve days later, my son turned 15.

Numerologists might have had a field day, I don't know, about a father and son having numerically opposite ages like that (51 vs. 15) and what, if anything, it means when it happens.
I guess at some juncture, every father and son must cross that point in time.

But I missed the boat on that score last year and, near as I can figure out, that won't happen again for a long time. When I turn 52, he won't be 25. When I turn 53, he won't be 35.

However, if I make it to 62, he will be 26. If I live to 73, he'll be 37. You get my drift.

So here I am, thinking about birthdays and the chronological ages of people and what it all means, if anything. And what significance birthdays have in the overall lifespan of a human been.

Some people consider birthdays milestones to be celebrated. Others consider them to be millstones around their necks, just another step along the way to their inevitable expiration dates.

Like anything else, it seems to me, it's all about your state of mind and what's going on in your life at the time.
And it's partly about your perception about good times and bad times and what's behind you and what's in front of you.

My son is about to turn 16, heading into his first year of high school on Sept. 6. His head is spinning about what he wants to be. His hormones are hallucinating about girls, girls, girls.
His voice is still changing, his body too.



He's as tall as me but he' s physically immature and emotionally, he's a doofus like any other male teen.
Intellectually he has much to learn, but he's got a great heart and a sense of humour and an aliveness.

Everything's ahead of him.
He's super naive but that's one of the wonderful things about him, that he doesn't think he has the answers to everything. Teachers probably scowl about his work ethic and paying attention, but his friends and girls like him.

And as far as I know, he hasn't even dabbled with liquor yet...GASP!
Me, I'm on the "other side."

While my son hasn't yet developed physically into a man -- he's a beanpole but I'm pretty sure he's going to be quite a bit bigger than me -- he's well on his way and that's just around the corner.

At the same time as he's on the precipice of becoming a man, I'm losing my "maleness."

I love how my kids tease me about losing my hair, even if they can't see me cringing inside at the thought of it. They think they know what I am, in my "advanced years," even if I don't know myself.

While my son is about to gain muscle, I'm losing mine. My calf muscles aren't as big and strong as they used to be. My chest is, inevitably, starting to lose its tone. My arms are losing their bulk and strength.

Eek. It's called aging.

I can still do things a lot of 50ish males can't. But I no longer feel this sense of physical invulnerability I used to feel. And my son is, hopefully, just getting into that stage of feeling invincible, although he's not athletic.

He and I are going in opposite directions, in a sense, but the neat thing is the path he's on is a trail I've already treaded before, so he has me to guide him along the way, at least to some extent.

Of course he wants to be the big explorer, the trailblazer, thinking in some goofy way that no one has ever set foot where he's setting foot. But of course he has to feel that way, because it's his adventure, not mine.

Not that I'm not flying along with him and landing on a branch in the tree he's passing by and badgering him about this or that...he seems to accept that I'm going to do that and he listens, if only for a bit...

His 16th birthday will mean a lot of things to him: he can get a vehicle drivers' learners' permit, for one, so he will want to use my car (Yes, I'm cringing). He will want me to take him out driving.

My daughter's 16th birthday wasn't nearly so stressful to me. I don't know...do girls have hormones? They certainly have more common sense at that age. Anyway, I think I've gotten off the topic.

I think my point is, no matter if you're 15 or 51, you're going through some passage into something else. We always are. For my son, it's a major transformation into adulthood he's undertaking.

For me or anyone else my age, especially if they're single, it's about what do I do now and who am I going to be now?

So in a sense, my son and I are going through the same things, but in some quirky reverse polarity time machine thingy.

For me, it's like a been-there, done-that, don't-make-the-same-mistake sort of thing. It's partly that I know what I like and it's hard to break the mould and reinvent. It's tinkering, not building from scratch.

For him, it's all ABOUT trying this on and shedding it, then trying something else.

He doesn't know what the mistakes are until he makes them. And as much as I'd like to prevent him from making those mistakes, I can't. Or at least anything I say probably will fall on deaf ears.

And that's OK.

21 comments:

  1. Cute pic of ur son.

    **And my son is, hopefully, just getting into that stage of feeling invincible, although he's not athletic.

    aww what a great dad u r...noticing all that and keeping awatch on ur son as he grows into a man.


    Keshi.

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  2. "Do girls have hormones?"
    What a doofus!

    The numerology thingamabob means that you are 36 years and 12 days older than your son.
    There.
    Now you don't have to ask Zelda the Psychic at the New Age Fair. I just saved you $20.

    The most amazing thing about watching our kids grow up is realising how much cooler we think that we are compared to our parents. ..
    and how horrible we were as teenagers compared to our kids.

    I am sorry to hear that you are losing muscle mass. I don't remember you ever having any but if you say so. (*rolls eyes)

    Stop kvetching. You're done, it's over. Try to go out with a little dignity for gawdsake.

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  3. Very thoughtful stuff, WW. If only half the world's fathers reflected on their sons in this way it would be a much better place, don't you think? As for the age-flipping thing, I had to give up before I could figure out when my age flips and crosses one of my kids'. This lack of mental stamina -- it's an age thing. :)

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  4. I just read HE's response and this is SO true:

    The most amazing thing about watching our kids grow up is realising how much cooler we think that we are compared to our parents. ..
    and how horrible we were as teenagers compared to our kids.

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  5. I felt mixed emotions through this post. You sound incredibly proud of and happy for your son as he goes through this stage in his life. At the same time, you sound a little resigned about your life. I hope I was misinterpreting the tone, because you are a very lively and remarkable man... quite possibly the most playful (and I mean that in the best way) 51 year old I know.

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  6. Keshi:

    The best thing for a young man to feel, I think, is that sense of invincibility...that he can do anything.

    Not in a fat-headed, conceited sort of way, but just to have a quiet, inner confidence in himself.

    That's what I most want him to learn, because that's where everything starts.

    HE:

    Thanks for saving me $20. The question about girls and hormones was merely a way to make a point.

    I wasn't built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but then I didn't lift weights either.

    And I'm not built like a fire hydrant now, but things are, shall we say, shifting.

    Andrea:

    Nice to see you back.

    I agree the world could be a better place, but why limit it to just sons and fathers? I get your point though.

    As far as HE's comment, yeah, I had a bit of a bump making my brain understand it, but it's true.

    Anna:

    Ha! You're far too perceptive!

    I have some angst about my son, but a great deal of faith in his spirit and positivity.

    As far as my own resignation, yeah, there's a bit, especially when I compare myself to him.

    We all have things we wish we might have done differently or, given a chance, not done at all.

    Or refused to do when we had the chance.

    In the context of where I'm at and where he's at, my post rings true. I'm on the far side, he's jaunting up the hill.

    But like my profile thingy says, I'm not dead yet!

    Thanks for the compliment, but the point is, how many 51-year-old men do you know?

    :-)

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  7. *sends WW a package of Depends*

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  8. MJ:

    **WW just about swallows his false teeth and loses his colostomy bag laughing, then straightens his wig which slipped sideways**

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  9. Errr... ummm... a few?

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  10. Anna:

    Yep, we're very rare, us 51-year-old males, very rare. Nonetheless, I appreciate your compliment.

    :-)

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  11. First time I have popped by. I think I shall return and explore.

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  12. That is a very analytical post about your son and yourself. Not at all mushy and soppy!

    I was interested in the mathematics part of it.

    Man, you are just in your prime. Why did I feel you are kind of resigned? Aging is ok too!

    Buck up!!!

    Spare the cups, please! I am a die hard tea drinker!

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  13. Whitesnake:

    Well, you're welcome to be here. I think I've seen you slithering around before...

    Gautami:

    Who said it was mushy and soppy? Although, most things I write about my kids do have emotion in them...

    While I appreciate the positivity about my age, Gautami Girl, I must admit to some resignation.

    But it's resignation to the reality of the end of my physical invincibility, that's all.

    If there's a tinge of sadness about that, it's because so much of who I am is tied up in my physical self...

    Climbing mountains, running fast, physical contact sports, skipping along hundreds of rocks on a Canadian Shield lake in quick time...

    That's why I called the post Passages, Passages. It's OK to lament changing out of an element that made you what you were and to realize you're no longer that.

    Does that mean I'm totally soured on what I am now? No way, but I was just drawing the comparison between me and my offspring.

    And hey, if you want to be a diehard tea drinker, who am I to tell you otherwise?

    :-)

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  14. I was going to put
    DO GIRLS HAVE HORMONES?

    Hello - any one in there?

    but I see HE got there first.

    Just go to the gymn and drink less booze - you'll look better but feel worse!

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  15. Ziggi (HE):

    HELLO TO YOU BOTH! Of course I know women are crawling with hormones! They ooze 'em!

    It was a rhetorical question, the intent was to be goofy/funny, almost to say: well men have 'em too...and they lose 'em also.

    I'll take your advice about the booze and exercise!

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  16. Time is an amazing thing, it some we as people made up yet we put so much stock in it. We see lives in cycles, and out time passing by, trying to grab moments with loved ones before it all passes.

    You truly appreciate what you have with your son, i always smile when i read posts like this.

    Its just phases, crawling, walking, talking, learning, puberty, self awareness, awareness of aging, acceptance and reflection on life, appreciataion of what has past and what is, and slip peacefully away to make room for the next lot coming through.

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  17. Oh my god. Do we ever have hormones. You wouldn't believe it. You've been married, you have a daughter, you really shouldn't need me to go into detail.

    Re your response to Anna - I know a good few 50/60-ish men, and you're certainly amongst the coolest. Except for my friend Howard whom I thought was 45 until I found out the other day that he's 60. Yikes!

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  18. Aidan:

    Exactly! Every word. Even the misspelled ones (*Runs away laughing*)

    Stace:

    Yes, I know a bit about women's hormones, for sure...

    But so now you're dumping me for some 60-year-old fart named Howard? Just kidding!

    :-)

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  19. I really enjoyed reading this post.It is kinda weird watching ourselves disintegrate, isn't it? :).My son is starting to go through puberty now but mentally is at the sesame street stage, and I'm getting to middle age...and mentally still at the sesame street stage. I found the last birthday very difficult -my own -and his is coming up soon and it gets to me that he will be 13 and still the way he is. I wish there was some way to spare him all the confusion he's going to be feeling the next few years. I want my little boy back again. I think that you might like yours back sometimes as well :).

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  20. Lee:

    Aw, girl, don't be feelin' that way about yourself, makes me sad.

    I can't, of course, say I know how you're feeling about your son. But I certainly give you a hug about it.

    It must be tough...very tough.

    All you can do is feel good knowing how committed you are to him and that just the feeling you described is what he feels from you.

    Smiles and hugs, really.

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  21. this was such a wonderful post w.w.!!! i love how you talk about your son's growing up...
    as for the age number reversal thing- i worked it out and damien will never have that with my age or with his father's!!!

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