My boy has become a young man.
The transformation began so gradually that I didn’t notice it until a few weeks ago. But when he recently entered his teens, I could no longer deny that he was exiting childhood.
Connor now has a faint moustache! A husky voice. A sturdy frame. Increasingly, he moves with the confidence of a man, not the insecurity of a boy.
His journey to young adulthood has been quite a ride – for both of us.
You see, Connor and I have had a special relationship since he was 2. That’s when his mom walked out on us.
I was uneasy about being a dad again when he was born. (I was 41 and had a daughter in college.) Two years after his arrival, I certainly wasn’t ready to be a single dad. With primary custody.
“Oh, God,” I thought when the reality of the road ahead became clear.
I had a demanding job as a newspaper reporter. How would I have the time, energy and know-how to be the main parent? And how would Connor turn out?
Thankfully, just fine. No, much better than that.
We’ve learned together
Connor and I have both made plenty of mistakes. We’ve hurled harsh, hurtful words at each other. We’ve cried. We’ve sought counseling individually and together.
But, most importantly, we’ve stayed together. We’ve persevered.
One of our favorite activities is taking trips. Two years ago, I bought a travel trailer — and a pickup to pull it — and we’ve gone to the Grand Canyon, Colorado and New Mexico. There, we stopped at the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell. Connor’s idea. Very cool. This summer, we’re headed to Yellowstone.
We can’t wait.
Connor’s latest interest is acting. Acting! When I was his age, I would have died of stage fright in front of an audience. Not Connor. He’s excelled at school plays and now takes lessons at a private academy.
We go to a lot of movies. Thankfully, Connor’s cinematic tastes have matured from Transformers to more serious fare — most recently, Argo.
“Awesome movie,” Connor said afterward.
“Absolutely,” I replied.
We’ll make it just fine
Connor doesn’t mind giving me advice on almost any subject. For instance, he’s told me several times he doesn’t want me to remarry while he’s at home. I should listen to him.
I tried marrying again when Connor was 6. It was a disaster – lasted less than three years. I married, in part, to get parenting help. Bad idea.
Connor’s mother, by contrast, has never remarried. I’m pleased to say she’s has remained a steady – if limited — presence in his life. She and I get along better than ever, and Connor sees her every week.
Still, divorce sucks. I regret that Connor hasn’t grown up in a home with a mom and dad.
But I can’t imagine having more fond memories of him than I do now. Even the bad times – and we’ve had plenty – now don’t seem so bad.
So Connor’s a teenager? It’s hard to believe.
And I’m a single dad? That used to be hard to believe — but no longer.
Thanks to my special boy — I mean, young man – single fatherhood has been a joy, not a burden.