Posts Tagged ‘son’

Now For A Bit of Balance

October 21, 2008

Little boys. And stories of them.

I don’t want to leave my last blog sitting there like a blob, something without shape and ill defined, as if it is the final thing to be said about life. So here’s something to balance the life of it all.

Another little boy long ago. Six or seven years old. This time it’s my son.

I was tucking him into bed one night, gave him a goodnight kiss. He was a bit sleepy but sparked up and said, “Daddy, who do you love the most, Mummy or me?”

I knew this was a pass or fail question. And I knew it was not time for an explanation of how people love different people in different ways with no lessening of the love. I had a millionth of a second to get it right. It wasn’t hard.

“I love you more than anybody in the whole world,” I said.

A smile ran across his face, a smile so broad that his cheeks could not contain it. And in ten seconds he was fast asleep. I sat there looking at him for a long while.

I have tears yet for that little boy, for that moment in our lives. He is now almost thirty, still lovable and young at heart. That same little boy is not far from the surface.

What a wonderful world we live in.

Makin’ Tracks

September 21, 2008

“Hey Dad, this time I want tracks.”

“Fantastic. Tell me what that means.”

“You know. Tracks. In my hair. On the sides. Two above each ear.”

“Tracks? Sounds like you mean GT stripes.”

“Here and here, that’s what I mean.”

“OK. Let’s do it”

That’s how it began, more or less. Tracks. In his hair. He was about eight years old.

I’d always cut his hair when he was little. Asked a hairdresser friend how to layer cut and it was all systems go from there.

A conscious decision back then was to let him have anything he wanted in the way of hairstyle. I’d learned that lesson in high school.

It was about 1963. My brother was into his hair. Kookie was on TV, always combing and flicking and grooming. My brother took on the look. And the comb, flicking his Brylcremed forelock back with style and precision. The girls formed a queue. He got out of the swimming pool one day with his hair clinging down around his head. “Dare you to come to school like that tomorrow.” It was one of the girls. Maybe it was more that one. So he did.

He was sent to the principals office – then sent home. “Don’t come back until it’s respectable.” Above the ears, short back and sides, military precision, all that stuff. Our Mum was not into foolishness. She marched him right back to the school and had it out with the principal. School was about educating her kid’s heads, not about shearing them. Mum won. Who’d have guessed it?  Suddenly the Beatles shut down the world’s barber shops and nothing was ever the same.

Fast forward to the next generation and my son wants tracks. “We can do it!” I said. So we did. After all, I was only there to learn.

He was a style-leader in a moment. A fashionista. He had a cool Dad and a cool head. Every kid in school wanted one.

Fast forward another twenty years. Eight year old boys are into tracks. It’s on again. Back in fashion. I point it out to my son. He grins. We both know. He was a fashion leader. Before his time. Going where nobody had gone before.

Everybody should have such memories.


November 11, 2007

We are sitting on the light rail going into Darling Harbour in Sydney. The conductor comes along to get our fare. His name badge says ‘Christopher’. He has a chunky build, a bit of his parents’ Greek accent, a friendly smile.

I pay for our tickets and say, “How’d the baby boy sleep last night?”
Christopher has no idea who we are. My wife and I are visiting Sydney for a few days, that’s all. Consider it a scientific experiment.
“He was awake until midnight,” says Christopher. “I hardly got any sleep.”
“Hope he settles down soon,” I say.
“Thanks,” he says. He loves talking about the baby. He moves away to take more fares.

I wonder if, sometime through the day, he will wonder who those strangers were who asked about his new baby son.

There’s something magical about being around a new Dad. Everything moves to the background to make room for the baby, and even total strangers are welcome to ask such a question for the sake of speaking about the miracle of life.