My eldest son, Matthew and I have always had a pretty good relationship, not so much "friends" as two people who can chat and paradoxically, as he's got older, developed a bond where we don't have to say much, at all. He knows where I stand and I know where he stands...and we just kind of "get on".
One of the bases for this relationship is that other than setting a basic moral agenda (don't hurt or use others, don't misrepresent facts etc.) I've never tried to tell either of my kids what was "good" or "bad". No, instead, what I've hoped to engender in them is the capacity to see Life as it is, rather than as what they want (or don't want) to see.
That being said, I've pushed the point for years, that by 14, he and his brother, Jamie, will be "men", in that I'll be unable to exert much influence on them...and they'll have to make their own minds up about all sorts of things:
- universities etc.
N.B. This radical, almost heretical parental position only seems to work if you've put in a great deal of work beforehand...and there are demonstrable results which you can trust.
Anyway, as usual, theory is one thing but Life is another...and these holidays gave me a nice little bite on the bum.
You see, for the first time, Matthew, now near 16, had almost no time for me at all, preferring to stay at his mother's place...and thereby to hang out with his "friends"...(a girl?). That wasn't without some guilt on his part but we both understood that he was in the process of "moving away" from me and finding himself. Cool.
So, there I was, promoting that inevitability with some enthusiam for years...and what I didn't expect was that when it happened, my heart would ache. Selfish, silly me.
We talked about it briefly, acknowledged that something fundamental had occurred and then laughed about it. Life goes on, as it must...but you know, Maturity aside, I couldn't help but hear a cruel parody of an old standard, improvised as Snap Went The Strings Of My Heart, ringing in my very human ears for a while, there.
Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
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