My son is at Boy Scout camp this week. Usually I look forward to this time of the summer as I get a break from being Dad to a teenaged boy. It's hard work, don't let anyone deceive you, but it's definitely worth it, the parenting, not the week off. Oh, hell, the week off is pretty sweet too. This year, however, it doesn't feel the same. This year, my son is seventeen years old, which means, this is his last year as a Boy Scout.
There really should be another step after Boy Scout. Next year he'll be going to college and honestly the term Boy makes you feel like you have more time than you actually do to prepare for your son going away. He's in the BOY scouts after all. I have plenty of time to adjust. Now I realize I do not. His mom left when he was three years old. I raised him. I remarried five years ago to a woman who accepted my son as her own. Life was good. She adopted a child from Haiti and we formed a family. I never wanted that to change. Too late, I have no choice, the clock wears horns and a red cape and it's hands are tiny pitch forks. My boy is no longer a boy, even though he is at Boy Scout camp.
Family night is on Wednesday, tomorrow. I'll make the drive and hike around looking at the stuff on my bad hip and wonky ankle. I didn't have those back when my son was a boy. Now he's becoming a man and everything on me is falling apart. Still, I'll go and look and show interest, even while my heart is breaking. I wish it would never end, what I have now, so I've decided to make it last as long as I can. How you ask? This year, unlike other years, I've written a letter to my son at camp. After reading what I said, I've decided to share it with the world. Click on the image to see the original, or read what I wrote below.
Yes, the time has gone quickly since you began your scouting journey, but the time has not been wasted. The temptation to turn this message into a maudlin tome about me and how I sacrificed my life for you and how age has left me frail while making you strong is hard to resist, so I won’t. I am older and more frail and you are now taller than me and ready to head out to the world, and it’s not fair. I wish I was still the energetic dad that was your cubmaster back in the day and that our biggest challenge was losing to the Spence family in the pinewood derby with grace. It’s just not so, and I’m okay with it.
Why am I compliant to my age? The answer is simple. I did a good job raising you and for that I take full credit. Yes, you are impulsive and overly passionate, but as you move forward in life, you will find that people like you are in rare supply. Your intelligence and creative spirit are your best gifts and I know you are using them well, not only at camp, but in every aspect of your life. Eleonore just walked in and wants me to tell you that she misses you. She’s not the only one, but if she didn’t see me type that, she wouldn’t have left me alone. She’s good at that, making sure everyone in her life knows that she is there, just in case. I hope you turn out like that too, someday, always ready to help, knowing that service to others makes you a better person.
We are praying for you regularly and hope that you return the favor. No doubt you will question your faith if you haven’t already, and may even turn your back on it in the future. It’s okay, God’s shoulders are broad and He can carry quite the load, even if you do not help. Please remember, though, I got to this point only on the assistance of prayer and Paige. You’ve got the prayer, good luck finding your Paige. By the way, we’ve stayed out of your bedroom so far but I don’t know that we won’t find ourselves there eventually. ‘Wink’
Hey, your quasi-girlfriend messaged you on Facebook and called us “Dr. Snoop.” I guess that means she thinks we’re snooping. Blah, blah, blah. You guys think your messages are interesting, but please. People in comas are more interesting to “snoop” on. It does bring up an interesting point. Choose your words carefully in life. No matter what you’re talking about or who you’re talking to, someone will take your words more seriously than you mean them. Always be aware of other people’s feelings and be quick to apologize, even if you’ve done nothing wrong intentionally. Learn to be a healer and the world will give you many opportunities to be rewarded.
Oh well, I guess you need to go roast a squirrel over the camp director’s lighter or something, so I’ll wrap this up. We all love and miss you, and can’t wait to have you home to annoy us again. And be careful if there’s a skeeter on your peter... you might have to whack it off.