Monday, March 23, 2009

Punch Drunk Love.

I've been a little melancholy lately as I watch my boys grow up. I had an altercation with my neighbor's son's friends this week. They're about 16 or 17. They were drunk and hanging out in the middle of the street. As I turned the corner to pull into our subdivision I nearly hit one of them. He yelled back calling me an ass---. In my rear view mirror I could see him calling me back, evidently wanting a fight. I avoid conflict. But this is my next door neighbor's "guest" calling me out of my car at 8:00 on a Saturday night. I put the car in reverse and went back to talk to him. The brave kid got in his car and closed the door. My neighbor kid apologized for him and said, "he's just really drunk." It was in that moment that I found myself trapped in between two worlds. I remembered all my buddies from high school who would drink every Saturday night in ninth and tenth grade...many of them began to get drunk at lunch everyday our senior year. But as quickly as I had that thought, I saw my kids' eyes in those teenagers. Eli is only six years younger than these kids. I'm almost twenty years older than them. I'm starting to see life through my kids' eyes more than my own these days.

I came inside and told my kids what happened. They couldn't believe it.

"Kids were drinking? Alcohol? Isn't that illegal?"

We talked about it some. It struck me that it will only be a few short years until my kids will be sitting in a car in some neighborhood with their friends. Who knows if what I say in this moment will affect their behavior in that one? I didn't drink in high school primarily because I was a religious Pharisee in the making. I did rebel in other areas though. I rebelled even more as an adult. Everyone rebels. Lots of my buddies who partied all through high school seem to have turned out just fine, though some are junkies and alcoholics now. I'm not sure what I am saying except that I hope my kids let me walk this stuff out with them as much as is possible.

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart. I thought about how life unmercilessly grinds forward. I can't keep my kids at nine and seven. Truth be told, I'd hit the pause button and stay here for a while if I could. I didn't really thrive in the baby stage and I'm scared to death of puberty. This is the sweet spot, and it's just like me to get sad because of how happy I am. I'm an emotional mess that way.

Last night something happened that doesn't often happen anymore. Eli got up in the middle of the night and asked to sleep in our bed. It's been months since he's done that. He snuggled in between us and instantly fell asleep. About an hour later, Aidan came in with the same request. Our queen size bed doesn't hold the four of us, but there was no way I was letting that moment slip away. I had a terrible night's sleep, but it was just what I needed. I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

7 comments:

Christopher Day said...

"I had a terrible night's sleep, but it was just what I needed."

You're a great dad, Joe Boyd.

John Arns said...

Great way to seize the moment when you can't freeze it indefinitely.

Ditto on being a great dad. Your boys will surely remember this episode positively for years to come.

wdmck said...

Joe, You are such an inspiration. I look forward to you blogs and writings as you post. The honest integrity of your feelings about this spiritual journey we are on is so refreshing. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

steg stories said...

Good job ,dad

Gregg Stokes said...

It made me remember when Caitlin stopped wanting to hold my hand...I have so many times I just want to freeze the innocence, the purity, the little treasures of this earthly life, glimpses into heaven I suppose, I hope...

Tammy said...

Don't blink twice...I've been trying to find that pause button for 20 years. Though time fly's by, the blessings & cherished memories of our 4 children are embedded for life.

Jon said...

I feel the same way. My almost-four year old still sits on my lap. I am scared to death of the day that he doesn't want to do that anymore. He's almost to heavy to carry around, too. However, I don't want to tell him to walk because I know there will be a time where he tells me that he doesn't want me to carry him.

I used to be a high school teacher and I am scared to death of what my son will be like at 13. All I can do is do my best to show him how great being a Christian can be.