Riding Metro-North. Day 1 for (My) Workin’ Man.

eric-tie-striped-son-work

Thursday morning.
We’re on the 8:01 a.m. train to Grand Central.
Eric is seated across from me.
His head is leaning against the window.
His eyes are closed.
His body is swaying with the slow turns of the track.

I look. I take a long look. And I’m rolling back 17 years.

He’s clutching his Mother’s right hand, scooching to keep up, his oversized blue backpack bounces up and down.  Mom let’s go of his hand.  He looks back.  His lower lip is quivering. His arm reaches back for his Mother while his Kindergarten teacher welcomes him into the building.

Blink.

And so, here we are. Father and Son are commuting to Manhattan. Day 1 of Son’s first paying job.

I take inventory. From bottom up.

He’s wearing his Dad’s hand-me-down black, plain-toe oxford shoes.  45 minutes earlier he asks: “Do I need to polish my shoes?”  College student with a 3.95 GPA is looking down at the dust and scuff marks.  He doesn’t bother looking at Dad. 21 years of co-habitation and 21 years of absorbing sharp nips and tucks of Patriarchal coaching, instinct tells him that it’s a bad decision. Dad grabs the shoes and cleans them up. “Can I borrow your socks Dad.” “Take what you need.”

I move up.

He’s wearing a charcoal, flat-front pant, skinny leg and a trim fit cut suit that he picked out with his Mother. “Your suit looks great.”  “Yeah, it fits good.”  I catch him stealing a glance in the mirror before we step out the door to catch the train. He runs his hand through his hair, hair that is cut above the ear and above his shirt collar. All done without Dad’s badgering.

I move up.

He’s wearing a white and wide-striped blue dress shirt with a pastel tie, both hand-me-downs from Dad.  And all adorned with Dad’s borrowed cuff links.  “Did you tie your own tie?”  “No, Mom tied it for me.”  I smile and turn away – Mom gives her Son a hug before we jump out of the car at the train station.

I move up.

He’s wearing his Dad’s hand-me-down watch on his left wrist and a black beaded bracelet on his right. The bracelet, not my style, but for his underwear and his undershirt, it’s the only non-hand-me-down on his body. Let him have it.

He’s awake at the call of the conductor as we pull into Grand Central.
He sits up and adjusts his suit jacket.  And tugs down on his shirt cuffs.
Father and Son walk down the platform.
Father in front. Son following.
We exit the Station, and walk two blocks to his building.

I reach out to pat him on shoulder to avoid the potentially awkward man-hug.
“Well, I’ll let you go here. Have a great first day.”
He pauses, reaches for his Dad, pulls him close and hugs him.

Thanks Dad.


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Comments

  1. Loving moments , treasures prize..so many memories makes me cry..best is the hug it is warm and heart felt…sons’ gift to father ..that is the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh a beautiful moment. There is nothing more precious than the love we receive from our children. 😋

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful…You did well, Dad!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminded me of “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” (Eric hit all 4!) Appropriately so, for I’m thinking the feelings are the same as when a mom gives her daughter over to her exit from home/entry into the greater world. Pride/fear. Happiness/sadness. Solar plexus clenched/unclenching. A Metro North letting go.. but only for now. 🙂 Beautiful. I’m so glad you shared that ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And of all the successes you have had – these hugs are the most valuable and memorable. You and Susan have done so well…good luck Eric – the world needs you!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wow. What a beautiful post. Evocative of so many emotions, mostly pride. For you, and so many of us who have traveled that virtual “metro north train”. In the early days of his first professional job, my son commuted with his dad, who worked nearby. They got to know each other better during those 40 minutes on the road.

    But for me, this evoked the memory of putting him on that school bus to Kindergarten.We had just moved to the area, the bus issue was new for me and I was nervous. He must have sensed this. As the bus pulled away, he was smiling through the window. Then he winked at me. He winked. It told me he was going to be okay. ❤️

    Thanks for sharing, David, and Happy Father’s Day ! ☺Van

    Liked by 1 person

  8. David, I can feel your pride and pleasure in your words. And that hug was so much sweeter because of the memories you have. Yes, memories define us and are as much of the present as they are of the past. (And I cried at the end 😊)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. every moment here was tender and loving.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aw, heck David, those treasured, heat-wrenching ly precious firsts. Tears (good ones) in my eyes. Thank you sharing this, and for taking me back to those special memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I can feel the Pride you must be feeling. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, God! Squirting tears all over my keyboard. And I thought this would be stoic. Damn you, Kanigan, for the change-up!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Family stories are the best!! Love it.. Happy Farhers day!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Father’s pride shines through. Beautiful, David. And I noticed an unusually generous streak too. He’ll do fine wearing that bracelet.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Really nice story and a very proud moment for Eric. Happy father’s day.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That made me cry. I could feel every single bit of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Happy Father’s Day all.
    -Alan

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Love. This. Post–and the bond that you share with your kids. Happy Father’s Day, pal..

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You did “let him have it.” Good job, Daddy-O

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Christie says:

    Your sharing, illustrates such a sweetly, tender bond of love. Eric, is wrapped in love from head to toe 🙂 The accessories, the “watch” of time is a reminder to him of the love and direction given him & it gives him focus toward the future. The cuff links give a dashing maturity. The shoes, well I have faith that he will fill those out nicely in dedication, care and Integrity – “Father in front. Son following” … Thanks for sharing such a milestone memory. Much Joy to You on Father’s Day.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. jborden119 says:

    Loved it; thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

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