I imagine it will be tough to let go of my kids (my countdown clock aside). To get to that stage where I stop worrying, to stop thinking of them as my kid and let them be the adults they are one day supposed to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot about fathers and sons.

Every day I pick my oldest son up from school (which I like better because I kept forgetting him at the bus stop when the bus used to drop him off). Every day we hold hands when we leave, as he waves good-bye to friends, as we cross the road getting to our car.

I tell him that I like holding his hand and that one day he’ll consider himself to be too big. One day he won’t let me hold his hand in public, he won’t let me stroke his hair when he’s resting, he won’t let me be seen with him in public because I’ll be embarrassing (to which he said “I know” and little too quickly). Actually, his younger brother already is done: at 4, he’s “too big” to hold my hand.

Yep, my oldest is only in kindergarten, but I’m going to miss holding his hand.

Like most parents, I worry about what kind of men they are going to be and how best to train them to be the kind of men they ought to be. When I think about my own father, I think about how easy it is for children to point to the faults of their parents. We’re human, a smorgasbord of failings, but we try the best we can. However, my father was at least there for us and he loved us as best he could. So I’m reminded by the simple power of presence. Of being there to listen and talk to my children and I worry a little less about possibly screwing them up, despite my worst antics, because being there is most of the battle. Holding their hands when I’m able and when they’ll let me.

So I’m going to miss holding my son’s hand. Probably as much as my dad misses holding mine.

Today’s his birthday. Happy birthday, dad.

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