I was pouring myself a cup of coffee, when my son Tommy (age 16) came into the kitchen. “Dad,” he said, “I’m going to the library. Is that OK?”
“Sure, no problem.”
“You want to come along?” he asked.
I looked at him to make sure he was feeling OK. “You want me to go along?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “I need your advice.”
Did you read that last sentence? Please give me a moment while I read it again.
Wow. I like the way that looks on the page, but it sounded even better in real life.
“You want my advice?” I asked, just to make sure I wasn’t hearing things.
“Yeah,” he said. “I’ve got a taste for the Who and Led Zeppelin, and the library has all of their stuff. I want your advice about what their best songs are.”
“The Who and Led Zeppelin?” I asked. “I love those guys.”
“I know,” he said. “I do too. Can you help me out?”
Even though I had lots of things to do that day, I dropped them all to go to the library with my oldest son. I’m so glad I did. We perused the library’s CD collection, trying to decide which Who (”Dad, what about this one with Kenny Jones?” “Put that down, boy, we’re sticking with Keith Moon”) and Led Zeppelin songs (”Hey Dad, this one has ‘Heartbreaker/Livin’ Lovin’ Maid” “Now, you’re catching on, kid.”) to bring home with us.
As we were heading down to the checkout with a pile of classic CDs, we passed the movies section.
“Hey Dad,” Tommy said, holding up a DVD. “Look, it’s ‘Blazing Saddles’.”
“Throw it on the pile,” I responded. “We’re watching that one tonight.”
And we did. Tommy loved it. He didn’t quite get a few of the cowboy references, because I don’t think he’s seen a Western in his life, but there were some universally funny scenes for people of our emotional age (Tommy and I are both 16), that made him laugh hysterically.
I didn’t want that day/night to end.
The last few years, during the really rough age 13-15 years, I was worried that he would never come back to me. He had such disdain, such animosity, such a chip on his shoulder about me and everything I stood for, that there didn’t seem to be any hope. Don’t get me wrong, we still have plenty of moments like that, particularly when we discuss his grades, but I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Even if it was just for one day.