Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CATS IN THE CRADLE

Me and my son Jesse in 1998.
My son Jesse turns
eighteen this week!
And while others in his 
life are planning a
foolhardy celebration,
I find myself reflecting
on what a blessing he's
been to me, how proud
I am of him, how I miss
those "little guy" days and
what a sheer work of
genius Harry Chapin's 
"Cats in the Cradle" truly is.
 
__________________________
 

A child arrived just the other day.
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
he'd say,"I'm gonna be like you dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

I never wanted a child. The notions of a baby’s non-stop crying, midnight feedings and dirty diapers were offensive to me. And I was simply unwilling to put anyone else’s needs before my own selfish ambitions. However, I did a complete one hundred and eighty degree about face regarding parenthood the instant my wife at the time, Trish, came home from her gynecologist in early1993 with the big news, “I’m pregnant!”

Trish and I immediately began renovating our apartment together —  painting the walls, child-proofing cabinets and transforming the one-time guest room into a brand spanking new nursery — in anticipation of our new "roommate."

Everything about Trish’s pregnancy seemed to be a breeze. She experienced very little morning sickness and she gained hardly any weight. And on October 5, 1993, the night our son Jesse was born, Trish was in actual hard labor for only about an hour. In fact, I joked that the baby came so quickly and effortlessly that Trish didn’t even smear her typically immaculate, Stryper-like make-up. 

Me and Jesse, a few days after he arrived
home from the hospital in October 1993.

And I can honestly say that he's been a joy, every moment. Oh sure, we had to come to a few "understandings" along the way, but beyond that, it's been a snap!

Christmas 2004

We've been through a lot together over the years — scraped knees (some were his), father and son vacation adventures, daily commutes to school, our weekly grocery shopping trips, countless late night movies, Orlando Magic basketball games, girlfriends (some were mine) and even a few hurricanes. And I wouldn't change a thing — except I wish we'd spent even more time together!

Me and my boy in 2011

Today is the day that I never thought would arrive. But cliches typically become cliches because they're true. And the guy who first said, "They grow up so fast," was absolutely on-point. And as my son prepares to graduate with honors from high school in the spring, I now find myself asking, "Where did the years go?"

Jesse took an interest in drums very early on.
(Now I take lessons from him!)

I certainly wasn't always the greatest father, but Jesse was, and still is, always the greatest son — and my best buddy. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have anyone to vent to regarding those darn Libs!

Jesse and his "special friend" Tania at
their school's 2011 Homecoming dance.
(Well done, son.)

It's ironic that as Jess was growing up, I was frequently so caught up in my own personal "stuff," that I didn't always make time for him the way I should have. Conversely, with all of his teenage priorities — school, band, girls etc., I'm now the one who has to fight for his time.


 

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,
he'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
(From "Cats in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin)

-Chris

P.S.
To all parents, here's a song and video that will completely rip your heart out. It's from singer/songwriter, Sara Groves — so you know it's amazing!


I  TOLD  YOU  SO !



Author Christopher Long's new book
is available NOW on Amazon.


3 comments:

  1. I can image how proud you are of him. When my oldest Son graduated High School and also had his first child years later it was so emotional. I still have my other Son and my Daughter going to school also. I feel that Im trying to raise my kids with pride, respect, knowleage, manners and most of all love to be wonderful people. They are our future! Very touching article, you have a great Son, you did good!

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  2. Christopher J. ErwinOctober 11, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    That honestly brought a tear to my eye. You've been a role model to me since I was 15, and I knew you were going to be a fantastic father. Well done, Dead. Your accomplishments never seem to end.

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  3. That was beautiful. I totally relate (she said with teary eyes). Jasmine's right behind him.

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