Ever since I was a kid I have had a unique perspective on time.
When I was in 2nd grade I thought I would be dead by the 6th grade. It just seemed so far away. I used to sit in my California school room 2 blocks from the pier at Huntington Beach and lament that my school friends in New Jersey were getting out of class before me (because of the three hour time difference). I remember looking at black and white pictures my parents had thinking about the moment they were taken, tying to understand the thoughts and emotions of the people in them.
Did they know how they would change?
Did they anticipate someone would be looking at their pictures decades later?
Where did they go just after the picture?
Growing up with these thoughts I never had any doubt I would get older and reflect on pictures of my own. There was never any doubt I would grow up and be in pictures like the ones I was curious about. There was never any doubt I would become an adult with kids who would wondered something similar.
Now, that I appear to be all of these things I have started to reflect on something new in relationship to time. I have started to put myself in my Dad’s shoes. With one of my boys turning 13, I am trying to remember what my Dad was like when I was 13.
- When I was 13 my dad was 49 (they started late). I am 41.
- When I was 13 I was my Dad’s youngest child, but my 13 year old is oldest (and I bet he will stay this way).
- When I was 13 my dad worked a lot. Sometimes all day, into the night, overnight, just to come home change clothes and go back to the office. Even though I am gone some weeks, weekends or nights, I feel I have a good work life balance. It could be better but its still a good one.
- When I was 13 I had a closer relationship with my Mom than my Dad. This might be because of the above point or that this was the time in life when my brother started going sideways and Dad had to deal with him. So far I think I have a solid relationship with my first teenager.
- When I was 13 I was committed to the faith of my father; baptized and saved. With my boy, I know he is familiar with the faith. He has grown up around the church, the Bible and Jesus. He can tell you all about Christ’s death and resurrection, communion and can recount stories from scripture. But has all this translated to faith, to Jesus being his Lord? I hope so.
- When I was 13 by Dad was pretty heavy (sometime 300+). I don’t remember us wrestling, playing catch or building things together. Being in better shape when my boy turns 13, I can still goof around and play with him. Jumping off swing sets, climbing trees, trading martial arts techniques and chasing miss thrown balls.
- When I was 13 my Dad could still inspire a sense of fear, demanded respect and loved me deeply. I hope I do this with my 13 year old.
It is at these times I wish my Dad’s was still around to talk too. Then I would not have to wonder about these things.
Then again, I can always talk to my almost teenager to see what he thinks.