What's actually weird about parenting is that you get flashbacks to a time when the shoe was on the other foot.
I was driving Jake somewhere the other morning and I thought about sitting in his spot...Dad would have his songs on the radio...Sinatra or Ella or Dean.
I'd be sitting there, as a young man, wondering what he was thinking, talking as much as I could without spilling too much. Trying to get a conversation started about something.
We were listening to Bruce, of course as Jake and I made our way to his friends house.
Jake brought up the NCAA Tourney and we talked comfortably throughout.
Just as I had been able to do with my Dad, we can talk.
It was just the act of driving there that hit me.
And of course it goes too fast.
Buddy of mine asked me what I was doing the other day.
"Just watching hoops with the boys."
"Enjoy it," he said. "My girls aren't watching it with me this year. I wanted them to stay here, but they have things to do."
That right there bummed me out.
There will be a tourney sometime soon when I'm watching the games alone.
But we had a monumental day this week as Jake went for his road test.
I knew the exact moment when he was taking the test.
Kathy was sitting at the curb texting me about how it was playing out.
"I'm so nervous for him," she said. "He wants it so badly."
Jake is a good driver.
He lacks a little in the confidence area though and he gets way too nervous. Earlier in the day I had sent him a message:
"Walk tall or don't walk at all! You got this. Trust yourself!"
But we waited.
"He's back!" Kathy texted.
I waited, and waited and waited.
"AND?" I finally texted back.
I was saying a prayer to the God of Drivers...Ricky Bobby, I suppose.
I texted Jake immediately.
"I am so pumped!" He answered. "Let's go!!!"
And I thought back to my Dad again.
And all the times he encouraged me.
"Work hard. Do more than what's expected. Don't compete with anyone but yourself."
All messages he handed down.
Jake was looking for any excuse to drive the car all weekend long.
He even made a Tim Horton's run for a frozen lemonade and whatever hell else they all drink from there.
Then we sat together.
Two of three of the boys with me, watching hoops.
Being a Dad is a lifetime job...
...but it changes and evolves all the while.
Even when you feel like a kid yourself.
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