Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Holy Grail Of Fatherhood

It was not so very long ago that I found myself staring out the kitchen window on a typically bucolic New England autumn morning, complete with singing birds, dappled sunlight filtering through the maples, and fresh dew glistening on the lawn. Or, should I say, that Damn Lawn.

I realized with a heavy heart that my lawn, a cold and merciless adversary indeed, had engaged me in an endless, Sisyphean battle. It grows, I cut it. And so on. In fact, as I turned from the window in search of more coffee I mused that the whole affair made a tidy metaphor for man’s timeless struggle for survival against a cold and unfeeling universe; a universe singularly unimpressed by our hopes and dreams. Or at least my admittedly prosaic dream of not mowing that Damn Lawn yet again.

Anyway, just as I was really starting to enjoy wallowing in this exercise of existential ennui that was as ridiculous as it was pointless, I spied my older lad sitting at the breakfast table and a light went off in my head. There he sat, in the midst of his usual morning routine of shoveling pancakes into his mouth so fast it was really just a blur of forks and syrup.... all the while blissfully unaware that he was about to be pronounced fit for a rite of passage as timeless as suburbia itself.

“Hey,” I said, in the most innocuous tone I could muster, “looks like a beautiful day out there. And I’ve got a great idea.” -His fork slowed down for an instant and he favored me with a particularly wary glance.- “You’re a big, strapping lad now,” -I continued, “howzabout I teach you how to use some really loud and potentially hazardous machinery?” -There was silence and it seemed touch and go for a moment, but as soon as that fork came to a complete stop I knew that he was hooked and sweet victory was finally mine.

So here I stand on the deck enjoying the fruits of my labor; -one of the finer milestones of fatherhood, if you will. Of course now that he has the term “Hazardous Machinery” in his head I know it’s only a matter of time before he’ll be eyeing the family car… but that’ll just have to wait.

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