Friday, May 18, 2012

Fraternity

My children are not. Neither has been a child for some time. In fact each has settled in a part of the United States fairly far from the part of the country in which they were born and raised and embraced wholeheartedly a slew of decidedly unchildlike endeavors such as pursuing a career each enjoys and building a life in the company of one whom they love very much. This is very much the adult swim portion of the program. Indeed it is.

I am a bit of an anomaly among people I know from high school or college in that neither of my kids is a child any more. Life moves at different paces for each of us I know. I recall fifteen years ago or so when we played in a Sunday Mens' Softball League at Yanticaw Park in Nutley and I was one of the few guys on our team who was married. And I was one of the two members of our team who had children. Rob, in fact, used to make the occasional guest-starring appearance at the park to watch us play and when he and I would get home on a Sunday night he would share with Margaret and Suzanne what he had seen and heard that day. I have not seen my former teammate Tommy in what feels like a lifetime. I shall forever smile though at the mere mention of his name or the mere glimpse of him in my mind's eye. In Rob's world, Tommy was not Tommy. Rather, he was "The Guy who says the F Word a Lot", which Tommy did indeed do....every time he undercut a ball and hit what baseball announcers used to refer to as, "A Home Run in a Silo", which he did at least two times a game.

Back in the day - as it were - Rob was a fascination to many of my friends simply because he existed. The notion of fatherhood was then as alien to most of them as....well as it was to me right up until the time I met and fell in love with my wife.

I was thinking about those days just the other day, being as we are hip-deep in the season of proms/graduations/holidays celebrating moms and dads. It occurred to me that given the ever-forward manner in which life is lived I remain a bit of an anomaly among my friends. For while this is indeed a season of communions, confirmations and various and sundry other sacraments in their homes, those events are squarely fixed in my rear-view mirror and disappearing further and further from view every day. It brings a smile to my face thinking about the joyous noise bouncing off of the walls of the homes of the Brothers Navas and the Brothers Rubino. It also makes me smile thinking about several friends of mine - all of whom are roughly my age - who are on just their first lap or two of the Dad Race. Where each of them is could not seem to be any further removed from where I am in terms of our respective treks.

Yet we are not so very far apart at all. In fact, the innate joy of the Fraternity of Paternity is that no one checks your creds at the door to see when you first joined. No one cares. Once you are in, you are in. And you are in for life. You best be prepared to hold up your end. Someone very important is counting on you. Put on your helmet and buckle up your chin strap for at times it can be one hell of a ride....

....and it is one that you are glad shall never end.

-AK

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