Cat’s left the cradle

Eric-before-after-2012

He returned home for Thanksgiving.  My strapping 6′ 3” son walked into the waiting area.   He had grown.  Looking down on his Dad from a higher elevation.  Adorned with knee length gym shorts. (47F outside.)  Sweat shirt with hoody.  And his hair.  Wow.  Only a Mother can love this slovenly look.  And she does.  I let it ride.  For about 24 hours.  Do you think just maybe you could trim it up?  Dad puts up the fences and guardrails.  Empathetic Mom breaks ranks.  Intuitive Son notices his parents on opposing sides.  Mamma’s boy digs in and expects full cover.  With leverage waning, I grab the last lifeboat …when one feeds at the trough, respect the farmer.   Outcome: No haircut.   And, I now have a Son using hair elastics and headbands aka hair accessories.

He returned home for Christmas.  There he was waiting for us at the airport terminal. Same knee length ratty gym shorts.  (39F outside).  Same sorry sweat shirt with hoody.  And his hair. All intact.  Clothes, hair, shoes…looking matted, dingy and need of a hot shower and wire brush.  Mom first.  Then, Dad gave his Son a hug. Zeke, electrified, and in the midst of a full head-to-toe body wiggle, finally settled after Eric kneeled down to hug him. Of course, Zeke needed to be part of the greeting party.

Dinner on his first night back.  Mom and Dad, mostly Dad, peppering his Son in topics ranging from exams (I did ok), cafe food (it’s pretty good), frats (not sure I have time), intramural soccer (it’s fun), and drugs (No, I don’t Dad!).

This morning, when Dad wasn’t around, he asks his Mom to make a hair appointment.  He says it’s too much work and he wants it cut.  (No chance that he would make this call to Dad. No chance.)

This afternoon, Susan and I are running errands.  The phone rings. “Mom, I just received my grades.  I got straight A’s including Organic Chemistry.

I turned my head away. My eyes welling up.  Thoughts on a slow roll…a gentle easy wave…along with Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle.

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me

He’d grown up just like me

My boy was just like me

No Harry.  As we hung up the phone, it occurred to me.

My Boy has grown up better than me.


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Comments

  1. Alex Jones says:

    A wonderful writeup of a family experience. Loved it!

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  2. OneHotMess says:

    Mine have all down that, too—grown up better than me. Nothing makes me happier! Congratulations to you!

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  3. Awww, David, you always make me cry…tears of love.

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  4. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Awesome, Dave.
    What great parenting 🙂

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  5. This touched me, David. Enjoy your family this holiday. I know you are proud!

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  6. So cool, Dave. Can’t wait to pick up my CJ, on leave from serving as a US Marine at the airport on Friday. Glancing across the crowd at the airport as he walks toward me in his fitted Marine Dress Green uniform will certainly be one of the moments when my eyes will want to share a tear and my heart will give thanks to God for his safety. Soon after with my eyes welled up, I’ll be rushing to hug my oldest son, Brandon, pulling in from his drive down from college.
    We are blessed to have sons who are, like my Brandon says, “new and improved” versions of us. We’re fortunate God gave us our sons to love and to rear into cool gentlemen. May you enjoy a blessed Christmas with your dear family and friends!
    Joel

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    • Joel, thank you. I can see CJ walking in his uniform in the airport and Brandon pulling into your drive way. What a feeling these moments bring. Happy holidays to you and your family. Dave

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  7. David…if having long hair, shorts in the winter (and straight As’s) is the biggest problem you have with your son…I think you need to pat yourself on the back and instead of Harry Chapin (who I adore), you should be singing a male version of Butterfly Kisses, by Bob Carlisle…”With all the things I have done wrong, I must have done something right… to deserve….

    My father, (now 82) tells me to this day that his greatest joy in life to be witness to my successes. When he was promoted to sergeant in the police dept, he thanked my grandfather for giving him opportunities to do better than he did. (My grandfather was a drunken coal miner).

    Those thoughtful words of appreciation fell on deaf ears and even caused my grandfather to resent my father…it was sad, as they never really reconciled. Luckily, that is not an issue as I appreciate the perspective because each of my daughters have achieved things I never even dreamed of. If I died tomorrow, it would be as a happy man because I know what they will achieve, based on what they have already.

    Pick your battles….enjoy the ride and remember what you were like when you were his age…..Enjoy the semester break……Ray

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    • Ray, your comment moved me. Yes, Bob Carlisle and Butterfly Kisses. In hindsight, I should have gone with that. Future re-write. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts – inspiring and moving.

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  8. That’s the goal right?

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  9. Just love it David! Enjoy your time with him. I have one coming home on Friday whom I haven’t seen since September and looking so forward to it.. We are blessed indeed Sir.

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  10. You are SO lucky to have good kids. Your good parenting has paid off. Now relax and enjoy having them in your life.

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  11. Sweet and very touching. Thanks for sharing, proud Dad!

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  12. Very nice and thanks for sharing 🙂 I agree with the comment if long hair and shorts are your biggest issues, then you have nothing to complain about. Enjoy these years with your kids 🙂

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  13. I look forward to my kids being grown up & better than me. I see it already happening with my son (15).
    Thanks for sharing a snippet of your family life with us. A handsome son you have & with straight A’s & I bet a great personality too – You are blessed.

    Like

  14. Olga Kanigan says:

    Your hair was long and your dad made cut off. I was not popular. It’s come back to haunt you it’s only hair enjoy your time together. Olga

    Like

    • You weren’t popular. The wicked Aunt with the shears. Maybe if you pushed back just a wee bit and had a bit of backbone, you would have been more popular. 🙂 Olga, happy holidays to you and Joe.

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  15. The way you have summed up the memories is very touchy and you have every reason to be proud of him =)

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  16. David, it is another verse of Harry Chapin’s “Cat in the Cradle”. Now that my two sons are in their 30’s, I just cherish being able to have time with them.

    Not long ago, my youngest son and I spent a long weekend together camping and fly fishing in south Texas. That time was truly a gift to me. It’s what in on the inside of our children that counts.

    Thanks for a great post. Bill

    Like

  17. Ok, I started crying with the Thanksgiving homecoming..he is his father’s son and his mother’s son…and his love for you both and vice versa trumps the sad reality of that song. He is your boy – your wonderful, all A’s, short or long haired marvelous boy. Revel in your time together – I know you will.

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  18. Real life is way better than fiction. Great post, David.

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  19. Una forma maravillosa de relatar esta vivencia! debe ser muy emocionante tenerlo otra vez con vosotros y ver que se está haciendo mayor, ¡es muy guapo!!, besos

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  20. Beautiful write-up and Great Post.

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  21. Lovely post David! 🙂

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  22. Your posts about your children never fail to move me to tears, David. So glad that Eric is home safely! Suck the marrow out of your time together, as I know you will…..

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  23. A wonderful homecoming. You have a handsome son. Straight A’s, EXCELLENT. Like father, like son. You have a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing them with us. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

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  24. What a blessed man you are (and you’re going to get endless sh*t about the hair thing).

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  25. OK…I have teardrops running down my face. Fantastic job Kanigan! 🙂

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  26. Hair just wasn’t one of those battles I was willing to fight. I laugh when my kids look at old photos and comment, “how could you let me go out of the house looking like that!” I just laugh……

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  27. He’s also one heck of a looker, Dave….
    Better watch those girls…! 😉

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  28. So special that you appreciate and celebrate your son for who he is – special, unique, never to be repeated Eric. That’s the sign of a great Dad. Have a wonderful holiday with your houseful.

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  29. LOL Good looking young man – takes after his father? Argue the moral issues, not hair!!

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  30. These stories always make my eyes well with tears. Lovely

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  31. Congrats to your handsome son, David. I can’t wait to see mine again on Saturday. 🙂

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  32. Steven Reiff says:

    You kill me sometimes

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  33. Paco Gonzalez says:

    You have wonderfull kids! Enjoy them! Always remember that the apple does not fall far from tree! Merry Christmas!

    Like

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