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 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.