Today, Sarcasmo is a man.
Well, he was a man yesterday, too, but today is when it becomes official. As hard as it is to believe, my oldest little dude (who in no way can actually be considered little) turns 21 today.
I am, to put it bluntly, shocked. But only when I stop to think about it. And so I spend most of my time trying desperately not to think about said twopointone decades of parenthood that now stretches behind me.
Feeling the breeze blowing from the open burial pit laid out in front of me is a minor concern, though, when I call to mind the face of my oldest son, my namesake, the fifth of his name. . . Sarcasmo.*
When his mom-to-be and my wife, known to me then as She Who Must Be Sexy No Matter How Distended Is Her Belly Right Then, and I decided to bless the world with our progeny, we had no idea he’d not want to come out.
There we were, past 40 weeks and Sarcasmo-to-be seemed to have no intention of leaving where he was. Heck, he was comfortable, warm and fed where he was, so why go through the hassle of getting born?
Which meant we needed to do a little inducing so we packed up and headed to the hospital where the Motile Clone Gestation Unit was hooked up to various drug drips and monitors and we settled in to wait.
Despite a few contractions, it didn’t seem to be progressing. This being the dark ages, we couldn’t pull out a tablet and watch something good, so we had to make do with TV. Nothing good was on, so I got sent by the Motile Clone Gestation Unit to a nearby Blockbuster Video to rent a movie to watch. During labor.
Of course it was while I was at the video store that the doctors broke her water and the really painful contractions set in. I got a page (I told you it was in the dark ages) that consisted of the digitally written equivalent of “GET BACK HERE NOW! I WILL KILL YOU FOR LEAVING! GET BACK NOW! I WILL KILL YOU! I love you.”
Labor, amirite, dudes?
Even though we had a few exciting hours of contractions, eventually it leveled off and stalled. Sarcasmo-to-be really didn’t want to come out. So we were going to have to cut him out.
Dudes, let me tell you something important here. If you ever are in the operating room with your partner and child-to-be and the doctor offers for you to look over the curtain at the incision site. . . Don’t do it. Just. . . don’t.
And then the doctors told us that we had a baby boy. Our son. And placed the tiny human in our arms and I realized just exactly what real love felt like. I understood why my parents put up with my guff for all those years.
I looked into his face and understood the purpose of the universe had been to bring us all there. To that hospital. In that room. At that time. To bring into existence the reason for it all.
I met my son and all other concerns fell away.
With Sarcasmo, I learned how to be a parent. He taught me how to be a dad. How to be friendly, but still retain the authority to speak and be listened to. Even more important, he also taught me how to listen.
He was my first little dude to smile, to talk, to crawl and walk. To eat on his own. He was the first to be embarrassed by the sniffling dad in the back of the kindergarten classroom who just did not want to leave and might have had to be escorted from the room by the teacher’s helper.**
But even better than all the tiny-human firsts is the current first. He’s the first of my little dudes that I can watch become a man. He’s out on his own now, making decisions (for good and for ill) and beginning his own life, one only tangentially related to mine.
It’s hard — darn hard — to let go of the wheel that directs his life. But it’s something I’m learning from him even now.
He’s got the tools he needs to succeed and is one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. And I say that as a person, not necessarily as a dad. And one of the thickest and fastest-growing beards it’s ever been my frightened privilege to watch grow.
The years between the dawn of his first night as a tiny human on the outside (when I held him up to the rising sun, proclaimed him my heir and listened to the roar of the animals***) and now have not always been easy ones. There have been times when I haven’t wanted to hear his voice and many more when, I’m sure, he thought the one thing in which I would look best would be a shallow grave.
And, yet, through all that. . . Through the screaming and the yelling. . . Through the tears and the smiles. . . I have always loved the big dude and always will.
Sarcasmo is an amazing young dude with so much promise to fulfill as he walks out into the world as a man. I’m so glad I get to be there as it happens.
Footnotes & Errata
* NO! That’s not his real name, d’uh! He’s Richard Edward Jones V, where the V stands for Roman Numeral Five, not Violet. At least as far as he knows.
** Might have. The important word in that sentence is might.
*** Although I’m not sure why there was a big orangutan there. Or animals, really. It was an. . . odd dawn. I might have been a bit punchy.