When I arrived at my ex’s house Monday evening to pick up the twins, my ex lumbered through the front door clutching a sheet of paper. I mentally braced myself for what would likely be bad news, and prepared myself for the grating of her voice on my so very sensitive and delicate ears.
As she forked over the paper, she said, “The boys are allotted 4 tickets each for their promotion ceremony on June 2. I figure you can have four and I can have four.”
Promotion ceremony? Oh, yeah. They’ll be freshman soon…shit.
I absently nodded my assent while staring blankly at the letter the school had sent us containing the dress code and rules for the ceremony. Though I’ve known for quite some time that my boys would be high school freshman next year, the realization that that moment will be occurring in less than a month slapped me squarely across the face with all the vigor of a scorned lover. When did this happen? When did my cute little boys transform into strapping young men? Who gave them permission to grow up? Where the fuck have the last fourteen and a half years gone?
Their metamorphosis from boys to men is not confirmed solely by the sheet of paper I grasp unsteadily in my hand. Their evolution has become physically evident, as well. No longer can I look down on my boys as their eyes are level with mine. No longer are their voices tiny and falsetto, but deepening and sunken. No longer are their faces smooth and clean, but sullied by patches fuzzy facial hair.
My boys are now at a point in their lives where decisions they make now can and will shape the rest of their lives, and that is a daunting prospect. I want to teach them the folly of my mistakes, but I fear they, like their father, will only learn from their own experiences and not the experiences of others. I want them to succeed and thrive, but I cannot provide an adequate example for them to follow. I want to show them the path I took is not an advisable path to travel. I want to, at some point, sit down with them and delicately explore abuse in the hopes that they are aware of what to look for and to recognize it for what it is and to walk away from it. Sadly, my experience with abuse was with their mother, which is why the discussion will have to be delicate.
There is so much I want for them and now that they are nearing the cusp of adulthood I’m frightened. What if I fuck things up? What if I inadvertently guide them down a deleterious path? My high school years were the first years of my life to begin shaping me into the man I am today, and there are things I was subjected to I hope they never endure.
I’m both excited and scared for the next few years. I’m nervous. I’m hopeful. They have their entire lives before them and that’s encouraging, but life is ever brutal and ruthlessly unfair. I need for them to be prepared for that aspect of it. I have a challenging task before me and I hope I’m up for it. I know they will be. They’re smart and, to date, have been able to accomplish anything they’ve set their minds to.