The joy of a life of outdoor activities is magnified when shared with those who you love, and in my case that is my son Kyle. Yes, we have had many past experiences in the wild together, including times with my other son Jake, but there comes a time when raising a young man that certain things become critical. It is very easy for a 17 year old boy to be distracted by so many things in his life. I have a story that I wrote in the spring that I will publish soon after I can scan some pictures, but for tonight, I’ll just say that it is a challenge raising a young man.
I had a really long, stressful day at work, then there was an accident between a commuter train (which I take to and from work) and a car, which backed up the trains for a long time. I ended up walking through downtown Denver to another train about a mile or so away which took a different route out of town, down to the southernmost area where I get off the train at the park-and-ride. Once I got there, it was about a 20 minute wait for the next train, and all I wanted to do was get home, I was tired, hungry, and I wanted to watch Monday Night Football while I worked on things, like my knives and this website.
After almost two hours to get home, I was greeted by Kyle saying “Hey Dad!” when I walked through the door, that was nice. I could smell that he had re-heated left overs from the roast I made the night before, and that was OK, I didn’t expect him to wait that long to eat, he has to eat every few hours. I was glad to be home, and looking forward to spending the evening with Kyle, watching football, and working on some crafts. But when I walked into the living room, there sprawled out on the couch was Mitch, one of Kyle’s lacrosse team mates, and I soon learned that another young man was on his way over to watch the game. So much for my time with Kyle.
It’s to be expected though, and as all men know, they were like that at one time. I think back about the times when I wanted to be with my friends rather than my Dad, and it kind of hurts me now to think that I treated him like that. But I was a young man then , full of the things that my own young man is full of now, and I have to understand him. So I tolerate it as best I can, trying to push the thoughts out of my mind of the mess they will leave, the smell of the dirty young lacrosse players, with their smelly feet on my coffee table.
Then Kyle says “We’re going to order some pizza.” At that announcement I decided to retreat to my man-cave in the garage and leave them to their devices, while I worked on a couple of knives that I am finishing, and wrote this. Even from the garage I could hear them in there getting rowndy, and I just knew they were making a mess. In case you don’t know me, I’m kind of a neat person, and I don’t like messes in my house or my space in general, where ever that might be. I like things to be in order and to be neat.
Apparently my parenting has penetrated the thick skull of my teenage son. I was quite pleased that he took his friends home and got back here at his curfew of 9:30 on a school night, and he cleaned up any traces of their existence in the living room tonight, at least until further inspection. In the end I was very proud of Kyle, despite how irritated I was with him earlier in the evening. I chose to be patient, and it paid off, and I have a lot more faith in my son. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of that moment of stress, and rely on what you have done as a parent for the many years that led to that moment. I’m glad I trusted myself, and I’m glad at the result in the man that Kyle has become.