Friday, June 29, 2012

#98. or, Dear middle son:

  Dear middle son:

  You graduate from high school today.

   It seems like only yesterday you were a squalling baby when I would come in from doing the chores. Your mom would hand you off to me because you had driven her to wits' end with your constant crying and you would fall  asleep in my arms. She didn't like me very much for that.

  You have such an imagination. (I like to think that at least part of that comes from me.) Getting into everything, to see how it worked, a thousand grand projects on the go. That hasn't changed. Except now it's pick-up trucks and ATV's instead of toys and RC cars.

  You lived in your Superman pajamas and to an extent, you lived the part. Loved it when I'd toss you into the air. I remember how you used to run up the cattle chute and leap, flying, stretched out, through the air, into my waiting arms. Then have me back up a step so you could go again, seeing if you could fly even farther.

  You loved your grandfather and would spend all day in the tractor with him and when it was time to come home, do that crazy twisted hand wave you did to each other. I remember how bad he felt when you were helping him on the fertilizer spreader and you got your finger crunched in the chain drive. How you both laughed when someone passed on the advice, not to stick your finger anyplace you wouldn't stick your pecker.

  You had planned together, that you would not go to school but stay home to be his helper, and in turn, he would teach you everything you needed to know. And when he passed away, how you kept a spot on your dresser for the card and flower that someone had given you in sympathy.

  Teachers loved you in school. Bright and funny, charming and smart. In elementary, every time we would go in for parent/teacher interviews, they always gushed about you. Mrs. McCarthy had to show us the family picture you drew that had, "baby" labeled with an arrow to your mom's belly, because you were so excited about the new arrival. Funny how much you and that brother don't get along these days.

  I remember getting a call from the school because you had accidentally been kicked in the groin. They wondered if I wanted to come pick you up. They said it wasn't too bad but you were having some discomfort. I chose to let you stay at school for the last hour of the day. Because sometimes, we are going to get kicked in the nuts, and sometimes things, are going to happen that just make you feel that way. You needed to know that the best thing is to get up and try to carry on.

  Once, you got expelled for a couple days for fighting. Some kid decided, doing a gross thing to you would be funny. It wasn't and you punched him in the head. That wasn't so smart because you broke your hand. We had to talk to you about other options when things like that happen. But inside i was doing a fist pump because you stuck up for yourself, even though I couldn't tell you that at the time. That cast was a badge of honor.........and the gross thing? It was worthy of a punch in the head.

  You don't have natural athletic ability like your older brother but you joined the basketball team anyways. You were good enough to not get cut in the four years that you played. This last year you struggled and sat quite a bit and thought about quitting. Deciding to see it through until the end was a tough decision. Walking away would have been something that stayed with you for the rest of your life. Making that choice showed your loyalty.

  Your friends rely on you. So many times you got a text to come pull someone out of a ditch or try figure out why their vehicle quit running. Off you would go, sometimes later than i liked, tool box on the back of your truck to lend a hand.

  With the spirit of an adventurer and the knack for a deal, it seems your latest venture involves rounding up old campers and holiday trailers from people willing to give them to you for free. To the point, in fact, that our yard is beginning to resemble the set of Duck Dynasty. That doesn't surprise me though, you've always had a bit of a hillbilly streak in you. Maybe you get that from your mom? (just kidding dear.)


the more things change......




........the more they stay the same.

  The part time job at the parts store, that you carried through most of this last year in school, has the potential as a career choice in a trade vocation. Since they've offered you a full time position, it seems full time employment isn't something that you have to worry about looking for right now. I just wish you would put some of that money in the bank instead of spending it on speakers and truck parts. But then, I don't suppose that's any different a wish than most dads have for their sons in this town.


  You've done well, young man. Not all your decisions have been the right ones but that's part of becoming an adult. As long as you continue to learn from your mistakes and never stop trying to be better, you'll be fine. You graduate from high school today. You have the world by the tail. Not a worry in the world. And that's fine for today, have fun, your mom and I will do the worrying for you. At least for now. Because that's what we do.

  Sometime today, you will probably notice that my eyes are red and watery. You don't need to ask about that. I'm going to tell you it's allergies.

  .........and just in case I've never told you before, I am so very proud of you.


  Dad




 ***A few weeks ago, some very talented guy blogggers introduced a site called Dude Write. It's a site for guy bloggers (Dudes!) to submit a post to, once a week, to be voted on for top honours. This week (7/3/12), this very post claimed that prize. It is truly a grand distinction and I encourage you to visit the site, poke around, read some of the other posts. Any one of those posts were good enough to be winners. I thank them for the opportunity to share what I'm doing and hang out with the Dudes. You can also view the other top winners by visiting the Dude Write, diamond club.***

70 comments:

  1. Congratulations to both him and you, Ken. A fine father has raised a fine young man, you are to be commended.

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  2. Such a proud dad you are! As well you should be! Congrats to him for graduating and congrats to you for raising such a fine young man!

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    1. Thank you Dan, I will be be sure to pass on to him that there's a lot of people he doesn't even know thinking about him today.

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  3. Oh my gosh this touched my heart SO much. What a beautiful post! So authentic! Great writing voice and both of you are lucky to have each other. So glad you shared this with us!! Thank you!!

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    1. It was certainly my pleasure Pish. I couldn't finish it yesterday. I had to stop writing and gather myself back up. I'm happy it turned out alright. :)

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  4. Lovely post and message! You've done a beautiful job as dad and writer... congratulations again to your son - and have a super wonderful day! Funny that I asked about tears earlier and all I needed to do was to come here and find out :)

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    1. Thanks LiR! I had actually thought that you had been here and it was why you had mentioned it. We must have that syncing of brain waves thing happening? :)

      It will be a day full of excitement i am sure!

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  5. With three boys of my own and having just lost my Dad, that was a great post!

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    1. I seems we share that in common.
      Thank you Kevin.

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  6. Congrats to your son Ken. Beautifully written.

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  7. See, no disappointment. Heart warming as expected. Congratulations to you all once again. Good job Daddyo. :)

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    1. Thank you Kait. I wasn't sure if it was going to end up as what I had intended it to be. I think it worked.

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  8. I think I have allergies too now. Thanks for the great post, Ken. That's awesome.

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    1. Thank you Chris. Sometimes allergies do get the better of us. I'm just glad it's actually allergy season.

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  9. Great Post Ken, makes me want to hug my sons. I'd say thanks and they'd say thanks, but probably not in the same tone, ha.

    WG

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    1. I'm quite certain i couldn't have said this in a conversation. Maybe it's a dude thing?

      Thanks for the comment WG.

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  10. Ken, this is a truly wonderful read. Congratulations to your son on his graduation. :)

    -Barb the French Bean

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    1. Thanks so much. I am glad that it was meaningful to more than just me. :)

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  11. Congrats to you and your son. It was a wonderful post, too.

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  12. Wonderful. I hope I can say as much to my son when the time comes.

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    1. I'm sure you will. Once i started thinking about things, it sort of all just spilled out of my head.

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  13. I know I shouldn't say that this post is so sweet, when it has been posted on Dude Write, but I can't help it, it is! I don't know if there is anything more important for a dad to tell his son than "I am proud of you." Great job, on the post, and, even more importantly, on raising a special boy.

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    1. Thank you so much Kianwi. I suspect the subject matter may be keep me out of contention for this week. Hardly Dudely fodder! :)

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    2. Just remember...girls vote, too!

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    3. Dude Write is about guys letting it all hang out. Sometimes the stuff that hangs out isn't crude, rude, and socially unacceptable. We aren't embarrassed about that.

      WG

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  14. This. This is so endearing. Brought allergies to my eyes. My youngest, my last graduates this coming school year. I can't imagine. I love the voice I 'hear' in this. The words of wisdom and pride. I see a strong, common sense parent in these words, and I admire that so much. Well done, Dad. Be very proud. Congrats to your son. What an accomplishment. You've done quite well, Kimosabe.

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad that i have the allergies as an excuse. We still have one son left on his way through school. I suspect that the last will be the most difficult to deal with. It seems that as i've followed them along, i've gotten more involved with them in school. I wish i could have done that more with our oldest. I didn't really have the time until his last couple years.

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  15. This was so well written and very touching Ken. What a lovely way to show your love and pride in your son by announcing it on such a public forum!

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    1. Thanks Heather. The public forum thing is what i feared would be the thing he would appreciate about this the least. I hope that it might be something he thinks about as he gets older.

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  16. Congratulations! Your love for your son shines through your words, as does your pride. Oddly enough, your son shares the same priority for speakers as my middle son...hmmm...middle child syndrome? Watch out cause mine also "needed" amps for it too. Goodbye $600 LOL

    Good job, dad!

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    1. Thanks Elsie. If i say my son blew an amp 2 weeks ago and had to drop another load of cash on the new one, you will know exactly what i'm talking about. Plus subs, and wood to build a box for under the seat, oh....and truck decals as well. YESH! :)

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  17. What a heartfelt and amazing gift to your son upon reaching a major milestone in his life! I know he will cherish and keep it forever. How I wish my dad would have written something like this for me! It's a lesson every parent should learn... tell your kids how much they mean to you, and how proud you are of them... tell them often! Beautifully written, Ken, it even made me cry! You are an awesome Dad!!

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    1. Thank you so much Josie. I am glad that i was able to put how i felt into words and have it come across as i meant it. It wasn't my intention to make anyone cry but if i did, i must have been at least a little successful in that regard. Again, thanks Josie. :)

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  18. This was a great post and a fun read, even though it reddened your eyes. I hope your son got to read it.

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    1. I know my wife showed it to him at the banquet. He didn't say anything about it and i didn't really expect he would. That's the dude thing happening. As long as he thinks about it once in a while, then i'm happy.
      thank you Red. :)

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  19. Ken, reading this made me want a son so bad. More so than ever before. I've always wanted a son, if for no other reason, to carry on the family name. Our family is FILLED with girls. However, after reading this it made me realize there are a ton of other great reasons to have a son.

    I'm sure your son is as proud of his old man as you are of him.

    Great job!

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

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    1. Thank you Michael.
      I take for granted sometimes that i have only sons to raise. If i had daughters, some of the things that i have been able to share with them would not have been as easy to relate to. I admire dads that have daughters for that reason. I think they have a tougher job in that regard.

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  20. It's stuff like this that affirms my eagerness to have kids one day.

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    1. I strongly recommend it. You are going to think so often how much they are making you older than you really are. But sometimes, you can thank them for keeping you young. Funny how that happens.

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  21. Oh my goodness. this was very touching. I have the allergy problem too, when it comes to my son. He's 16 and growing up so fast. In fact, now that I think about it, I must be allergic to him....
    Congrats on such a lovely letter. Yes, he's a DUDE and we all know how dudes are, but one day he will be so proud to know how you feel as his dad!

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    1. Thanks so much Robin. You are right, it's almost like one second they fit in that crook of your arm. Then all of the sudden they're done high school!

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  22. That's a beaut of a post man.

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  23. Posts like these put me in an awesome mood. Working in the city really tests one's faith in humanity, but this posts reassures me that there are still a lot of good people out there.

    Excellent post!

    P.S. Your son has the right idea. Spend your money as fast as you can. Otherwise you'll be spending it on something stupid like gas or food.

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    1. Thank you.

      I may not share that bit of wisdom with him just yet. He seems to be doing that quite well all by himself. However, he does need to buy his own gas so i suspect that he must have budgeted that in somewhere.

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  24. Wow Ken... this totally made MY eyes red and watery. Amazing man... congrats to your son and to you too dad. Nice post.

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    1. Thanks for the comments. I truly did not expect that this would make others as emotional as it did me. Thank you.

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  25. Incredible post. Teared me up. I have one graduated and one to go. We do our best with them and hope they can take it from there. It sounds like you have done well. Congratulations to him and you both.

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    1. Thanks Brett. You are right. We try to pass on the things that we think are important and hope that some of them stick as they grow up. I've done what i could, i hope that as my kids continue to grow into adults, that they feel they can still come to me to help them with problems when they find themselves in a hard place.

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  26. I have an award for you! Come get it!

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    1. Thanks Dan. Already taken care of.

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  27. Great post. You both seem like fine gentlemen.

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  28. What a beautiful post, Ken! Well done, you and Mrs. Ken for raising a boy you're so proud of. And well done, Middle Son for finishing this chapter of your life so successfully.

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    1. Thanks Reanna. It seems to have become more of a post than I ever imagined it would be. I will let the Middle Son know you passed on well wishes. :)

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  29. What a beautiful post! I have a feeling that both of you are going places and not just on a tractor.

    Congrats on getting your Man Card!

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    1. Thanks so much for your compliments. They really do mean a lot to me.

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  30. Well shiiiiiiit. Now boyfriend in the other room has just called to me to either blow my nose or quit sniffling.

    Damn allergies!

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    1. It seems that it's going around? :)

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  31. Very touching post. Congrats on your Dude Write Diamond Man Card. Well deserved.

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  32. This post is so full of heart! It’s a truly beautiful tribute to your son, Ken. One I’m sure he’ll always treasure.

    From the wonderful, loving picture you’ve painted with your words, I think it’s clear that your very fortunate son will be following in his dad’s awesome footsteps. :)

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    1. Thank you so very much. All we can do in the end is hope that we've done our job well enough and they take some of those lessons on with them farther into life. Again, thank you!

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  33. If the Internet was around and your Dad had been a writer, he would have written something like this about you (& your brother). Like Father, like son...

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