This will finally finish my list of my favorite memories, so far, of Brad. Those of you thinking I've been saving the best for last will probably think you were wrong after reading these last two but that's the way the chainsaw cuts the cheese. This blog has had one thousand nine hundred and thirty page views so far and that amazes me and I thank all of you. When it reaches two thousand I'm going to do something to celebrate. I'm going to share my dating profiles from two different sites here on my blog, share how I'm thinking about rewriting both of them, and then open things up for suggestions from everyone that reads this as to which versions I should go with or if I should combine them or if I'm completely off base and have a lot more to learn about what attracts women. My money is on the last one.
Watching Big Fish With My Boy
This is a difficult memory to try and write about because I don't really remember details. There's a couple of snippets of conversation I can recall but it isn't much to talk about. I can still see the love my son looked at me with that night, and imagine the love I looked at him with, but I can't adequately describe it. I can recall the varying looks of confusion and awe and understanding that crossed his face as he followed the fantastical yet adult story of the movie and started to grasp the metaphors but the looks and the words of that night aren't why I love this memory. It's the feelings of that night I cherish.
It was a Netflix night and I learned something about myself that I would have never believed. There is only so much pro wrestling and cartoons I can stand. Still, it was one of my last nights with Brad before he left for the summer so I wasn't going to just take the remote from him and watch something he didn't care about. Brad and I looked for something that would satisfy us both. We considered The Nightmare Before Christmas but we've watched that at least a dozen times. Thinking about it, though, reminded me of another film Tim Burton directed called Big Fish and somehow it seemed to fit the night perfectly. I convinced Brad that he would love it and we started it.
For those of you that haven't seen it the film is the story of an adult son, who isn't very close to his father, telling the story of his father's life, as his father told it to him, as his father lays in his deathbed. He isn't close to his father because he feels like they never connected. His father was on the road for work a lot and when he was home he didn't engage in real conversations with his son but instead told tall tales of his past and his work. The son feels like his dad's need to be liked and admired overshadowed ever getting to know his father or his father ever getting to know him. I can't relate, thankfully, with feeling disconnected from your father but I can relate to having a dad who wants to get along with everyone and who tells tall tales. I can especially relate to the tall tales of father having more truth and reason for being than you ever would have thought like the son in the movie discovers. Anyway, I haven't described the movie well. It's beautiful. It's full of clowns and giants and witches while being anchored in complex adult emotions. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why. If you haven't seen the movie I highly recommend it. It's Tim Burton at his best before him and Johnny Depp decided to ruin significant parts of pop culture.
Brad was skeptical at first but it wasn't long before he was sucked into the story. We sat on the couch and cuddled as he asked me questions about the movie and expressed amazement at it. I enjoyed having my buddy and his attention but it was bittersweet because I knew I would miss it all summer. It was also bittersweet because I knew he was enjoying the movie partially because I enjoyed it so much and that movie meant so much to him partially because it meant so much to me. He's eight. I'm too aware for my own good of how fast time flies and I know that soon he'll be completely his own person and I want that for him. Still, I'm going to enjoy him wanting to be somewhat like me for as long as I can.
We were a father and son watching a movie about a father and son on one of our last evenings with each other for awhile. There was love there. That's why I remember that night and the feelings. There was a love of such intensity that I've never been able to replicate that level with another human being and I suspect I never will. I hope Brad will, though, someday when he has a child of his own. Brad and I both knew that he would be leaving soon and we were telling each other that it was alright. We were letting each other know that the love and the friendship would still be there when he came back, that it would still be there while he was gone, and that it would always be there. I was telling my son that he would always be special to me by sitting there on the couch watching a movie with my arm around him. He was telling his dad that I would always be special to him by leaning against my side and cuddling with me, which he hardly ever does, and enjoying a movie I love with me. We were expressing deep, heartfelt emotions without having to muck them up by talking about them and thankfully for both of us when the dad dies in the movie there's enough humor in it, and enough surprises at his funeral, that neither of us had to suffer the embarrassment of crying in front of the other.
The Next One
Here comes the cliche. Here comes the copout. Seriously though, how could I have a favorite memory of my son already? He's only eight. There's a hundred more sports games for him to play. There's high school for him to get through and learning to drive and graduating. There's college or work or whatever kind of adult he turns out to be. There's probably a wedding or two and a kid or two of his own in his future. There's my son as a dad and dealing with me spoiling the hell out of his children. There are vacations to be taken and smart remarks to be made and moments to be lived. There are books still to be read and stories still to be written. There are days left to be lived. Since he's been back there's already been a few moments that could have easily made this list and he's only been back ten days. Imagine what the next ten days or the next ten years could bring. My favorite memory of my son is the next one and will always be the next one.
I know he'll grow up too fast and I should live in the now but the now is always partially about the future for a parent. When my mom or dad reads this they'll think of me and remember some memories of me. Then they'll think of the future. They'll hope I meet a woman sometime and that my next marriage will be my last. They'll imagine me holding my grandchildren and hope that mine bring me as much joy as theirs have brought them. Once we start to parent we don't stop and we parent for the future because no matter how happy our children are, and how happy they've made us, we want them to be happier. So call it cliche or a copout if you must, I know it is, but my favorite memory of Brad will always be the next one because with each new memory I know I've done well by him because there is a new memory. Then I'll smile and soak it up and then start looking forward to the next memory.
In the middle of writing this tonight I put Brad to bed. He told me that we need to find a way to get a new computer without a messed up keyboard so I could write my blog easier. Then he told me I needed to go to bed and finish this in the morning because it was getting late and he knows I've been tired lately. I tucked him in and told him it was my job to worry about him and not his job to worry about me. He told me he knows that but he was going to do it anyway and I told him I knew that. Then we hugged and said goodnight and he sighed and shook his head when I sat down at the computer to finish this. That's my new favorite memory of Brad...until tomorrow.