Wednesday, November 18, 2009

T Plus 365

On this very day - one year ago - Margaret and I sat in a chapel in Georgia and watched Rob and his brothers (and sisters) in arms cross over the threshold from candidate to member. He took his first steps as a duly sworn member of a group he hopes and intends to spend his entire professional career keeping company with - putting into effect and into action lessons that he had spent the previous 17 1/2 weeks learning. Hell, in some cases lessons that he had spent his entire life to that point learning.

Today marks the first anniversary of what I believed at the time to have been the happiest day of my life as his father - the day when I watched him start to put his dream into action. And watched him take the first steps on the path that he has chosen to pursue. A path that he loved then. And a path that he loves now more than he even did then. And a path that I trust shall serve him as faithfully and loyally as he shall serve it for the duration of his career.

In one year a lot has changed for him and a great deal of change - not all of it positive - has been brought to bear on his day-to-day life. In a world far closer to perfect than the only one we are ever given the chance to roam, he would have spent the first year on this journey a bit closer to home than Cheyenne, Wyoming. But - as the poet laureate Townsend once observed - either way blood flows. (Or perhaps it was the future poet laureate Schreiber who made that observation. Depending upon the lighting, the two can be very easily mistaken for one another.) Regardless of its origin, its veracity is undeniable.

Geography has proven to be - at least for those of us at the home office - something to which we try not to devote too much energy or towards which we direct too much anger. I measured while we were in Wyoming in July. In spite of all of my enraged swearing devoted towards making it move closer to New Jersey, it moved east not at all. Just to be certain, I conducted another experiment after we returned home. Nope. Screaming at New Jersey to be closer to Wyoming caused no movement whatsoever on any of the relevant continental plates located here on the East Coast either.

One year ago, in the company of my wife/his mother, able to see him take those first few steps on his journey with my own two eyes I believed that I was happier than I could ever be - both for him and because of him. I know not all that he has learned in the time it took the planet to jog one lap around the Sun. But I know one lesson that that I have learned. I was not close. Not at all. And I have never been happier to be wrong in my life.


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