My daughter is away for the weekend. It's just me and the boy. We've enjoyed ourselves so far, in this quiet time of getting to know each other again. His favorite dinner of heat-and-serve pizza was enjoyed on the couch while watching cheesy TV and talking. While we dined, I felt bad that I was completely blowing my "do or die" diet. I decided to throw discipline to the wind and just eat the pizza, with that annoyingly sappy Expedia .com commercial playing in my mind. The one with the dad and son on the Tea Cups ride, where the father dubbed "THIS is my life. THAT's my boy. I've only got one of each" You know the one.
My son asks questions. A LOT of questions. ALL the time. He likes to ask those "what would you do...." probing kind of questions. They're sometimes silly (what would you do if you woke up with a super power?) Sometimes, they make you think. The question he asked tonight made me think.
"If you could travel in time, what one thing in your life would you change?"
Wow. Good one, dude!
I gave this question some thought. Here's how I responded:
"Well, after 43 years, what I've learned is that every single thing that happens to you in your life, every single thing you do or is done to you, good and bad, brings you to your present. If I went back and changed even one single thing, my life would be very different now, and I might not have you. I'm not okay with that, so I guess my answer is 'nothing' You and your sister are the BEST things I've ever done in my life. There's nothing I'd change to give that up."
He pushed on, asking me if I was sure I wouldn't change anything. I thought about it for a minute.
There is something I'd change. And I am ashamed. I know, both John Lennon and my Grandmother said it best: Life is what happens when you're making other plans. Blah blah blah. I still feel bad.
"What would I change, Connor? I'd take back every time I got frustrated with you before we knew what we were dealing with (ADD.) I'd take back every time I lectured, got angry and even yelled at you to "focus" and "try harder!" I didn't know. But I do know that those words will leave a mark inside. I know how much criticism from your parents stings, earned or not. I know that sadness, and how small and imperfect it can make you feel. And I did that to you. Those moments are what I'd take back. And I wish to God I could. Because those moments were NOT YOUR FAULT."
He teared up. Which, of course, made me tear up. And then he set his pizza plate down, stood up, and hugged me.
THIS is my life. THAT'S my boy. And I only have one of each.