My family will tell you that I absolutely cannot stand boy-bands. Given the opportunity, I will most assuredly refer to them as “prepubescent punks,” regardless of their age. I just don’t like `em! But despite my vocal outcries, Hollywood continues to birth new punk talent at an almost nauseating rate, through the magic of hair & makeup, Auto-Tune, and enough pre-teen girlfriend drama to choke a Twitter feed. With all the promoters, handlers, writers, and real musicians doing the work for them, today’s young “stars” don’t even need talent – and in reality, they have about as much self-sustaining fortitude as a shimmering soap-bubble riding the breeze across a field of briars. Have I mentioned, I don’t like `em?!?
For those of you perplexed by my rant, fear not – this post is not about boy-bands. I just thought the title was a good way to explain the real story of this post; that being my son’s transition from boyhood to manhood (which, I can attest, did not require hair & makeup, Auto Tune, or girlfriend drama.) Well, ok – not too much girlfriend drama . . .
Aaron was born 18 years ago, and was quite young at the time. Despite this initial setback, he quickly figured things out and started to increase in both size and age. Not to be outdone, his older sister kept pace with him and was able to maintain her rank as eldest child. Soon, a younger sister happened along, and Aaron still maintained his ever-present smile, as he was yet too young to understand the term “outnumbered.”
and of course fishing, which often resulted in him “expanding” the story just a bit when he told Mom about his catch. Of course as his Dad, I was obligated to instill in him the value of honesty, even as it applied to matters of fish size. In keeping with that obligation, I will use the explanation most prefered by cereal manufacturers, “Enlarged to show texture.”
One of his short-lived childhood companions was a little mouse that we found outside. He named it Stuart, after Stuart Little from the movie, and proceeded to lovingly nurture it for what would be the majority of it’s life.
(Technically speaking, the two-days spent as Aaron’s pet probably was the majority of it’s little life, for it soon gave up the ghost and passed into a better place, one in which we shall assume the moldy stench of cheese is never-ending.) At Aaron’s direction, we had a proper mouse funeral and buried Stuart in a proper mouse grave in a corner of the cemetery that divides our back yard from our neighbor’s. Although Aaron was quite satisfied, I found myself losing the argument with my wife over the legalities of burying an animal in a human cemetery, an act which would surely have the authorities hot on my trail within moments. As fate would have it, I am still on the run today.
Life is known for having a few bumps in the road from time to time, and although not much of a fighter, Aaron did indeed stand up for his Mom when a classmate told him his Mom was “hot.” Of course the story as he told it later was that the other kid now couldn’t see out of either eye, so this was considered by our son to be a decisive win.
Apparently the judge felt differently (not about his Mom being “hot,” but about the justification for a good pummeling,) and Aaron was forced to serve hard time in the local Juvi-Max detention center. They underestimated his yearning to be free, and after scaling the razor-wire fences he showed up back home, explaining, “No walls can hold me Dad, I’ve got to get on with my life!”
I made the swift decision to skip the court system and deal with this one myself. A sincere apology along with a promise to replace every missing elephant turd was offered by Aaron and accepted by the farmer. (The farmer had apparently heard tales of Aaron’s greatness, and never doubted for a second that he was quite capable of replacing every single one of them, given enough time.) But not having half the patience of the humble farmer, I still banished Aaron to spend his nights sleeping with the dogs and musing upon the error of his ways.
Eventually, he had “repaid” the farmer in full, and life returned to normal. That is, until the day when Big Sis decided she was tired of having to walk herself around, and totally blind-sided Aaron with the revelation that he would now carry her everywhere she wanted to go.
Face it son, you’re whipped! And you’re not even married! Rather than get involved and fight his battles for him, I played the role of a caring father and encouraged him with timeless quips like, “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger!”
As life would have it, there were still times when he and his little sister just couldn’t see eye-to-eye,
(He still claims to this day that pics like this one were staged for publicity purposes and paid quite well for him.)
As for his mother and I, we could not be more proud of a son who has made it through boyhood unscathed by the temptations that snare so many at this tender age. Aaron, you have stepped over into manhood, and ready or not, life awaits. I pray that God’s hand of direction will continue to guide and protect your every step as you start down the road that lies ahead.