My son turned 20 today...20 years old.God damn. I remember things like taking him to release his mom from the booking bench at the jail(a warrant for a expired inspection sticker) when he was so small I could still cradle him like a football...he doesn't remember this but I remember saying things about the "den of facist oppression" as we rode up the elevator to collect his mom. One thing led to another and me and his mom split when he was 18 months old. I was the primary care giver until then, cause mom was incapable. I did the meals and the baths and the diaper changes. Mom was incapacitated, it's difficult to explain, but we dealt with it. Things finally came to a head and we split up.
And then I was the every other week father that millions of kids end up dealing with. I have pictures of my son throughout his life...standing in the dinosaur footprints in the blanco river at three, singing into a mic out of his playpen when he was two...strumming a guitar three times his size around the same time, actually, I have several pictures of him with different guitars.He was my baby boy.
And then there was this thing called adolesence, and he decided he wanted to come live with me and Ann...he did and while it was initially a good thing, it ended in disaster.He was just like me, the drugs and everything after,but trying to navigate the drug culture of the 90's was SO different yet SO alike to what I had experienced as a kid, I completely missed the boat. He tanked. Despite everything I tried to do. He ended up in the system...oddly enough, my system. I tried to manipulate things to help him, but I ended up the enemy. Accused of things I did not do and the subject of an official investigation, and all because of a lie my son told to someone like me, and had it been me he had lied to, I would have persued it as well. He had elaborated on two events and expanded them into eighteen months of constant drug and alcohol use between us...utter bullshit. I made a mistake, one my father had made with me, and I tried the same stratedgy with my own son...only to fail, when it was his turn to talk he balked, and the accusations went nowhere...it was like he realized the gravity of the situation and decided he didn't hate me that much.
So I dodged a bullet, and so did he, and his mom, and everyone else on that end.
And now he's 20...he's a man...I raised a man, and he's an awful lot like me...he made it.
Happy birthday son, I love you. And I wish you luck.