AFRAID TO BLINK

by Steve Clem on February 4, 2012

I’m afraid to blink.

Because I swear in just a few blinks my sons have gone from cute, pudgy little toddlers to handsome almost-men.

From mini-me’s to better looking versions of almost-me’s.

Just yesterday they were asking me to make them a snack and if they could watch Barney again. (Hell no. not again!)

And tonight, well, I sit here alone, originally planning to have a pizza and movie night with them.

Gman, my feisty little red-headed Irishman, is having a sleepover at his best buddy’s house.

And Nile, my not quite 14-year-old who stands 5’10, is at the movies with a group of his friends.

And it is dawning on me that my life is about to change dramatically.

Since becoming a single dad over five years ago, my relationship has gotten so much better with both of them.

I think having them half time, it has made me appreciate the time I do have with them much more than when there were two of us parents there to share the load and entertain the troops.

And they also have learned a lot through my struggles and mistakes in that time to know that I’m not going to be scared by anything they need to talk about with me.

That’s the good part.

They both know they can talk to me about anything. And they do.

But I’m prepared for that to change.

I’m as frightened heading into the world of two teenage boys as I was when I had to change Nile’s first diaper.

They’ll be out there. In that scary world. The one I didn’t grow up in.

The following paragraph should be read in an angry old man voice:

When I was a kid, we didn’t have the interwebz, or cell phones or iPads to help us get into trouble. We were lucky if our parents let us use the house phone for more than five minutes! And did I mention we only had four TV channels?

Now, I’m no Luddite, mind you. The same technology that can get them into trouble also serves as a way for that good communication to work from afar.

Essentially I’m being demoted in importance in their lives. It happens. They’ll be back in about 10 years telling me how damn smart I was.

I’m just beginning to prepare for this role change.

I’ll be steering their ships less, but thanks to modern technology, they’ll be able to send me an SOS if they need me to navigate their way.

I’m just thankful that so far it’s been fairly smooth sailing with Nile. Because Gman is going to make life feel like a Nor’easter as he becomes a teenager, I do believe.

But you know, I became an awesome diaper changer by the time I retired.

So I figure the only thing I can do is trust my gut, talk with them as much as they’ll let me.

And spend even more time sitting at home alone, wondering what they’re doing.

 

Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly ICON. 
(This piece originally appeared on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie pavelich February 4, 2012 at 4:57 am

Awesome.

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J. Otto Pohl February 4, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Best of luck Steve.

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