"Dad, I need to write about my hero, so I am going to write about you." Those are the words that my son shared with me yesterday morning. Words that thrilled and terrified me. He looked up at me with a sparkle in his eyes and a huge smile on his face.
I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder. There were so many things that I wanted to say and yet no words came out of my mouth. I looked at him and understood the feeling and where it comes from. I feel that same way about my father, but he has earned it. Me, I am not sure if I really have. Can't help but wonder what he would think if he really knew all that there was to know about me.
It is sort of a silly thought because at almost ten years-old there is no reason to have that kind of knowledge. He doesn't really need it. No reason for him to worry or be concerned about some of the things that occupy my mind. No reason for him to know about the insomnia, headaches and stomachaches that have helped remove some of the hair on my head.
Some of the challenges are a direct result of my own actions and some of them have nothing to do with me. The deaths and the illnesses are out of my control. I may kid around about being the Angel of Death but I am not him/her/it. It is probably a good thing- at least for the people who cut me off on the freeway.
I want to own the title. I want to wear the crown that he has placed upon my head with comfort, but at the moment I can't. Too much is happening. Too many changes coming at me too quickly. I know exactly what is going on. I am completely aware of every challenge and what is required to overcome them.
And that is part of the problem. Some of them are beyond my control. Some of the challenges are things that for lack of a better example can be compared to forces of nature. Call me a sailor who has to deal with storms and waves. The ship is being battered and tossed around a bit. I can scream at the sky and threaten the universe.
It wouldn't be the first time and it probably won't be the last. But the thing is that it really doesn't matter whether I shout, scream, cry or remain silent. What is coming cannot be avoided. So the best thing to do is hit it head on and figure out the easiest way to navigate our way through.
I am cautiously optimistic. No matter what happens I always land on my feet. The real question is how many blows will I have to take in the process. Can't say that it is all that different from what other parents deal with. Some of you have more difficult challenges and others have less. Either way those are yours and not mine to deal with. I am cool with that.
For now all I want to do is try to earn that title the kid bestowed upon me. If you compare life to a poker game, well- I haven't played my last card yet so there is still a long way to go.