My son’s 15th birthday is rapidly approaching. With each passing year, he’s closer and closer to adulthood. One step nearer to no longer needing us “old folks”. I experience this time with a mixture of emotions. Given the current loss of the founding member of this Rodriguez Clan as I know it (death of my dad), I have taken the reigns as the “elder” Rodriguez Clan male. My son is the sole heir to the Clan. Haha, I think someone has been watching too much Game of Thrones.
Life is so delicate. In this day and age where life receives such a “low value” from society overall, I’m happy that we’ve made it this far. Don’t think for one second that I take life for granted! I know that tomorrow is not promised to any of us, and I take each and every day as a blessing from our Lord up above. I confess that every time that my son goes to school alone, when he comes home alone, as a father, I worry about his well being.
It’s a tough world out there and I wish that I could protect him each and every step of the way. But we can’t do that, can we? The best I can do is be there, and provide him the tools he needs to function on his own in society. I am providing something that is often missing in our society, a father figure.
I’m happy to see my son growing up from a little boy, into a man. Everyday the transitions are more and more apparent to me. His voice is becoming deeper, his interests are evolving, he’s becoming taller, and his muscles are starting to come into his body. It’s rather amusing to me how aware young kids are these days about these changes. This generation is much more aware and educated, they know exactly what’s coming and they are not shy in talking about it. “Hey pops, did you hear my voice, it just cracked! I’m going through puberty.”
When I look at my son, and the things he’s experiencing, I can’t help but think that not so long ago I was in the same exact boat. My son is a clone of me, and I see myself when I look at him. I’m thankful that I, along with his mom, have been able to give him a different life than we experienced. By the time I was 15 years old, I had already experienced many of the cruelties that life in the “hood” has to offer. Thankfully, we have been able to protect, and shield him from that kind of life experience.
Inevitably, as my son ages, so do I. When I look in the mirror I can see the white hairs starting to sprout out on my head. I can see wrinkles, forming slowly but surely on my face. Recently, the man who fathered and help raise me, once a tower of power, passed away, a frail, weak, suffering man. That reality is not lost on me. As my son complains about pimples, I struggle with losing the ton of pounds that I have packed on, I take the blood pressure pills. I realize that I am one step closer to old age. Mortality is a frightening concept to me, it always has been. If I had the option to live forever, then I would take it. Would you?
Seeing my son going through his current home situation, I can’t help but feel guilty and responsible for it. His mom and I divorced years ago, due to “irreconcilable differences.” As is to be expected, she eventually met someone, and remarried. My son is not at all happy with the current living situation. This is completely understandable, most kids would have an issue with a new person entering their personal lives. It is especially noticeable to an older kid like him. All that being said, my actions, however right or wrong I think or thought they were, are the main reason that he is in this situation today.
I’m perfectly aware of this, and I carry the cross that comes with this knowledge.
All things considered, I think me and his mom are raising a good, healthy man. I can only pray that we can continue to do a good job as parents. I look forward to the continued privilege of seeing my son develop into a responsible member of society. We are doing our part, and he is doing his, then it’s all just a matter of time, and life.