Sometimes, Facebook Hurts... Kinda
When those Memories pop up as you sign onto Facebook, usually, it's fun and a nice trip down memory lane... usually.
According to the every-now-and-then reminder notice from Facebook (also known as Memories), it's been six years since I took Alex to a celebratory lunch after we attended his graduation ceremony for promoting from Tevis Junior High School to Stockdale High School. I was so proud of him, and it was some rare quality time he and I would share that became less and less common as he got older, and I moved farther away.
Alex wasn't a brainiac like his brother, Andres. Things were a little harder for him to figure out, but he would... figure it out, that is. He was no dim fellow, either—he was smart. He was "little old man" smart. He saw things for what they were. He "matter-of-fact-ed" life. He saw through it. That type of personality, and can-do spirit, is what separated him from the others. He knew who he was, ever since he was in kindergarten.
His superpower was that he seemed to always see things through. He didn't start things, and then not finish. He actually completed efforts once started. That is a superpower most people don't possess. It's also a good human quality to have. How many people do you know actually consistently finish things that they start?
He took things seriously, and also not too seriously! He got involved in social causes trying to make a difference. He knew he was passionate towards things he believed in, fighting against things he thought were wrong... and he would do it loudly. And he was sweet. He hid it under his loud voice and sarcastic persona, but he was very kind and kindhearted.
We, as parents, sometimes take for granted that our children are here—and, a lot of the time, they are seeking our favor. Our input. Our opinion. We, too busy with work—or play—don't always notice their little "I miss you" or "I need you" flags. Then, we complain that our kids never want to be seen with us, or talk to us.
But, are we really listening?
I am so, so heartbroken that I never got the opportunity to reconnect with Alex more. That I had "too many things going on," or that "next time I'm in town, we'll..."
We had a falling out over some things that needed to be addressed sooner, and ended up falling in between the cracks. As a result, he stopped talking to me for almost three years. So, from 16 to 19, we barely said a word to each other. Well, when I tried to say anything... he wasn't having it. The sad thing is, he listened to his mother's lies about me constantly, and started believing them over common sense. Not everything was false, but more was than wasn't. I didn't make it any easier either by being too busy to spend any time with him. If I wasn't at work, I was directing a play, or running a community effort for fundraising or literacy. I never knew my attempts at bettering the community were working against my son's attempts at connecting with me. Ironic, isn't it?
Children remain children (physically) for a short time. But, as their parents, we look at them as our children long after that definition would hold. But, they are. And, when the unthinkable happens, you wish, with every breath in your body, every fiber of your being, that time would stop being and let you pause, and then take you back to the time when it was just you and them, as a stay-at-home dad and his "three little wonders."
I have my memories with my son, and writing about them helps (and hurts), but at least I have them. Hell, I cherish them. So, stop taking for granted those moments with your children. And don't stop wanting to spend time with them as they grow older. I'm sure they will appreciate it. They still want you to tell them they're doing good.
What I wouldn't give right now to spend 10 minutes with Alex.