Skipped a Generation

by Jay Dubois

Mechanical know-how, trigonometry deftness, and a love of golf. These were not handed down to me. It wasn’t for my dad’s lack of trying. Freezing with goose-bumped skin at 7 am in the dewy grass of the hotel golf course for weekly lessons did not increase my ability to impress on the course. In the end it didn’t matter (apparently he still thinks I’m pretty cool), but I wonder how he viewed it then.

He tried to get me to enjoy the things he enjoyed. He was inviting me into his fun space. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

My son. Capable, creative, bright. Stubborn. I carefully present opportunities to do something ‘more’. I try to encourage his trust in himself – to do things that maybe not all kids his age have the ability try. The pushback against that, at times, hurts. “If I was given the chance to_______ I would have _______!” I say to myself and exclaim to my wife. “Your brain is turning to mush with those video games.” I say to his sometimes rectangular eyes. He’s perfect – but I sometimes want to do his childhood for him.

I want him to enjoy the things I enjoy. I am inviting him into my fun space. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I sound like my dad when I laugh. My son has his easy ‘talk-to-any-stranger’ nature. What truly passes from generation to generation? My daughter breaks all these rules. She’s like no one I’ve met ever before. No one looks to see what traits she has inherited – she just is. Hand me down interests don’t apply. What’s a dad to do?

As a father I’ve learned how positively overwhelming love can be. You feel it in your bones. Your protection radar senses EVERYTHING. I’m scared of my kids enduring any pain. “Does this last forever?” I ask my wife. I hope the answer is yes because that sense of fear is easily outweighed by my sense of purpose. Being a dad contributes so much to what I see as my worth. Watering the garden has become my passion.

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