Today we celebrated my son’s 15th birthday. We celebrated at his home, with his mom, grandpa, aunt, and her fiance. Happy birthday, my son, and happy 15th year to me of being a dad!
It is a great feeling to see my son growing up. I have a very weird way of looking at raising children. In my mind’s eye, I see a young lion cub. A lion is a creature that is considered by many as the king of the jungle, but when they are cubs, they are extremely vulnerable. Much like any other animals in the wild, the cubs are a potential snack for larger predators. I’ve always seen my son as my little cub, and I want to protect him from those predators.
As the years pass, we have no choice but to let him have more and more freedom. He goes to school on his own, hangs out with friends on occasion, and with the exception of having a sustainable income, he can pretty much do everything for himself. My son is becoming a man, and as head of his “lion pride,” I am a very proud dad. I’m also happy that along with his mom, I have been able to protect him from those predators I mentioned. At this point, he is no more vulnerable than any of us are to danger. He can navigate the world on his own, safely.
While we were there, we joked around, we all spoke, and had a nice time. I realized something that I’ve always known, but was reminded of today. I share a lot of history with my son’s mom. We share a bond that time will never erase, and I’m not just talking about my son, I’m also talking about shared memories, songs, experiences, and the like. Stuff too personal to share, but it should be noted, we’ve known each other since our early teens!
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Jokingly, we were talking about a song called “Maybe I Know.” One of the lines says “Maybe I know he’s been a cheating, Maybe I know he’s been untrue.” My son’s aunt said “pun intended,” and we all sort of just laughed it off. Yet, I felt bad, I was ashamed of myself and bowed my head. I’ve made some mistakes in my life, and I carry them forever. The cross on my back.
My son’s mom and I are friends. I think we have both successfully moved on from that time, but even so, I felt ashamed in my past behavior. I left there today feeling happy, but also kind of sad. Granted, I’ve been an emotional mess lately, but the fact that my son is growing up in a separate household than mine is a burden that I’ll carry forever. That is on me, and the reason is stated in that song.
I’ve apologized countless times for my transgressions, to both my son and to his mom. In fact, I even wrote a song about it! However, on a day like today, the weight of my past actions are felt a bit more heavily.
I’m experiencing mixed feelings. I’m happy to see my son turn 15, and for sharing the time with my growing cub. Yet I feel kind of down that I have to leave him there, and all that surrounds those past mistakes. Anyway, this is my cross to carry, writing it out helps me cope. As I sit here, listening to oldies, pouring my heart out, I feel nostalgic. I’m happy and sad at the same time.
So there you have it, folks, confessions of a real dad.