Tuesday, May 4, 2010

They Might Be Iron Men....

I was excited to be reminded of the fact that Rob was on the East Coast this past weekend - even if he was a few hundred miles south of home. As I understand the scenario, he and a number of his college pals rendezvoused at the digs that two of the crew now share either in DC or somewhere in the immediate vicinity. While the curious bones in my body wonder what the weekend's festivities consisted of the paternal bones that occupy the bulk of my mass know better than to ask.

Certain things impress me quite a lot. Among them is the fact that since he was very young Rob has had the ability to recognize the importance of friendship as a qualitative and not a quantitative exercise. His best friend essentially since Day One has been Dan, which was an incredibly easy friendship to maintain when they were young and were classmates at OLMV. At the end of one school year (I think it was grade six but I might be mistaken) Dan's family punched a hole through and escaped from 'NTSG. When that happened I tried to think back to all of my school-age friends who I had stayed friends with once one or the other of us had changed schools and/or moved to a new town. It is a non-existent list. Yet Dan and Rob - whose relationship is more fraternal than friendly - refused to be foiled by geography. While they ceased attending school together by age 12 or so, their friendship never wavered. And it never waned.

As the years have passed, Rob has added a few more wing men to the squadron. And at the risk of revealing my utter absence of objectivity, each of them is a first-class individual. I have really grown to appreciate the times that Rob has been home since he began his transcontinental migratory practices not simply to see him and to catch up with him and his latest adventures but also to watch him and his friends interacting like complementary pieces of a puzzle.

Presumably he gets this trait - this drive to set down a finite number of sturdy roots deep rather than an infinite number of them in shallow soil - from Margaret. I regret to say he did not get it from me. At his relatively young age he has shown a deftness at recognizing the importance of cultivating the relationships that are important to him that me - almost twice his age - have never possessed. I used to, upon running into someone I had not seen in forever, reflexively tell the, "We'll stay in touch" lie, knowing upon uttering the words that it was not true. And presuming that the one to whom I said recognized it as a lie and was so nonplussed by its utterance (or its utterer) that it neither affected nor offended.

No sins of the fathers on this front for Rob. A fact that makes me happy if for no other reason than it makes him happy. The point of intersection as a parent between things that bring our children happiness and those that bring us comfort is not always readily apparent. When we are able to find it and to reach it without difficulty it is indeed a good thing.

When eyes meet in silence, a pact can be made. A life-long alliance that won't be betrayed. A lesson learned well. At least by some of us.


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