On Father’s Day, I Honor My Son

Son

It is Father’s Day, yet I do not honor my father.

My father was an abusive drunk who put me through years of hell and regularly did everything he could to crush my spirit. He did a hell of a lot of damage in that regard; I’ve struggled for years with chronic, enervating, soul-crushing depression that several shrinks have identified as deep post-traumatic shock pounded into my marrow and mind during my childhood.

So today, I honor my son.

Nathaniel is seventeen, intelligent, kind, thoughtful, socially adept and funny, loves his parents, loves being around his parents, and has never been a behavioral problem in any way. When people ask us how we discipline him, we always say we don’t. If there’s an issue, we talk it out, and it’s no longer an issue.

I attribute this mostly to his innate character, but also to the fact that from the day he was born, both his parents have treated him with respect and have never seen dealing with him as an innate conflict or power struggle. He is the way he is because we allowed him to be the way he is, not because we beat it into him or forced him to act certain ways or made him follow stringent rules. We always honored his right to be acknowledged, to be present, to be heard. We pointed out when he was in the wrong, but also stood up for him when he was in the right.

We gave him love and respect at every step along the way, and as a result, he has given us love and respect in return. He doesn’t have to rebel because we’re not holding him back from being who he is and living life on his terms, and because we trust him, which lets him know that he is worthy of our trust.

Because of who he is, and how he was raised, my son didn’t have to bother with being a surly teen. He went straight to being a man.

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Talking About Death With My Kid

Reading back through old journals, I found this from January 3, 2003:

Nathaniel really moved me this afternoon. He was “predicting” and predicted I’d die when I was 110. I said that sounded just fine to me, that’d be a good long life. He asked how old he’d be when I was 110. I said 78.

He said that’s when he would die, because he didn’t want to live longer than me. I insisted he had to live longer, at least past 100, and that it was natural for a parent to die before his child because the parent is older. He asked when I thought I would die, and I said I had no idea, but I hoped it’d be a long, long time.

He gave me a very close hug.

Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 2): Bad Vibrations

A day later than planned, but here we go…

I was telling you about my father, and all the great times we had when I was a kid. And I said the next post would be one particularly entertaining anecdote. In today’s very special episode of Taken By The Wind, I’ll tell you about the day I effectively became an orphan.

Here’s the scene:

Afternoon. Me, at sixteen, reading on the sofa in the living room.

My father and his wife, my second stepmother, are in their bedroom.

Their door opens and my father steps into the living room, glaring.

“You stole something from our room,” he says. “Give it back.”

I’m at a loss, since I have not, indeed, stolen anything from their room. I say something to that effect.

“Yes you did,” he tells me. “Get it.”

“What did I steal?” I ask.

“You know,” he says. And he’s very angry.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” I say.

He fumes. “You know what I’m talking about,” he says. “I’m going back in the bedroom. I’ll come back out in ten minutes, and you better have it.”

And he disappears into the bedroom.

I go back to my reading. Can’t do much else.

Ten minutes later, he returns. His thick leather belt is in his hand. “Where is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He glares at me, looking like he’s trying to solve an algebra problem that keeps kicking him in the nuts.

“I gave Pam a gag gift,” he finally says. “You went in our room and stole it.”

And then I realize what he’s talking about.

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Another Advance Doc Wilde Rave!

The second official endorsement of my novel, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, just arrived.

It’s from Quentin Dodd, author of The Princess of Neptune and Beatnik Rutabagas from Beyond the Stars:

Thank you for letting me read DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM. I should have had this done a week ago, but once I got about halfway through I started slowing down because I didn’t want it to end.

I really enjoyed this book. It was sharply-written, smart, and didn’t waste a word or a minute in getting to the action. Like its spiritual predecessors, the two-fisted adventure novels for boys and grown-up boys, this is a book to be read under the covers, with a flashlight, way past bedtime. It is old-school entertainment and proud of it.

By the time I got to page nine and [edited for slight spoilage], I knew I was onto something good. I think readers who have already discovered the man from Providence [that would be H.P. Lovecraft] and the Man of Bronze are in for an extra treat as well.

I certainly hope there are going to be sequels, and I can’t remember the last time I said that. Thanks again for giving me the chance to read it. I hope it does well.

Best,

Quentin

P.S. I have to admit, reading something like this brings out mixed emotions. On one hand, I was excited and inspired to read something so good. On the other, I was annoyed that I hadn’t written it myself.