Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Son, Our Sun

I tend to build on what I like about loved ones and friends, and minimize what I don't like. Nothing unique there, really. Holding to that habit is one key to having harmonious relationships.

I write about my son Dylan often. I was a late-in-life dad when he came into the world, and eight years later, he's still a fascinating little creature.

Dylan is a good kid. More than that, he has the makings of a guy who will be a good person as an adult. He's not perfect. He can't eat anything without ten percent of it ending up on the floor. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get him to do his homework. Sometimes he knees me in the privates when we're wrestling. I think it's accidental.

But yeah, in my heart and mind, Dylan shines in many ways. Still, Uncle E's post today in which he mentioned Dylan surprised me, and left me with a big lump in my throat. There's something about hearing or reading good things about my son from someone else--especially when that someone else is as thoughtful and perceptive as Uncle E--that just makes my heart swell anew.
I don't mention my wife Rhonda as often as I do Dylan. That largely has to do with Rhonda's desire for privacy. She's fairly well known in our community, and she doesn't like the idea of her life being an open book. So, I respect her feelings, although the woman has had a fascinating life: heck, someone should base a novel on her experiences.

The three of us went out boat camping on Lake Shasta on my last break at home before Dylan commenced going to school again. We had a wonderful time, but two days into the trip, Rhonda had pressing matters to attend to at her office, so Dylan and I dropped her off at the marina and headed back to camp. Dylan, at the age of eight, had spent a total of two nights away from Rhonda in his life. He was brave about the idea of two "dudes only" nights at the camp, but on the second morning without Mom, after we finished breakfast, I could tell that something was on his mind.

"Dad, if I tell you that I miss Mom, will it hurt your feelings?" I chuckled. "Of course not. I've had a great time with it being just the two of us, but I miss your mom too."

Dylan said, "I've had a great time too, until now. Now, it seems boring without Mom. She's always so cheerful and funny; she always makes me feel like every day is a special day. She's like the sun."

She's like the sun. Dylan's words, and the look on his face, hit me with a wallop. Dylan had offered a poetic essence of what I've always loved about Rhonda, from the day I first saw her and heard her talk in our high school cafeteria, thirty-six years ago.

She can show a tough-as-nails exterior, but inside lies a marshmallow heart. She has an irreverent, bawdy sense of humor, but a little girl's sense of wonder. She's one of the bravest, kindest, and most compassionate people I've ever known.

She's like the sun.

I'm one lucky dude.


Debby said...

And I bet, Hal, I'll bet bucks that when she reads this, she's going to feel like the luckiest woman in the world! That's what I love best about your're a fellow who would walk through fire for his family, and you don't care WHO knows it. When a family has two strong parents, it almost goes without saying that the child will be extraordinary too. All three of you are lucky! Good job.

Bob said...

Whoa, Man. What a way to start my day. You demonstrate perfectly one of the reasons God created family. Can't say it any better than Debby just did -- Good job!

Kelly said...

This is beautiful! Ditto to both Debby and Bob.

I don't know which of you is more, Dylan or Rhonda!

Annie said...

And that is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. Your son is amazing.

Scotty said...

Just got home from a night shift and very much enjoyed this post as I drank my coffee. An enjoyable read indeed, Hal.


Pam said...

Hal, It's been rough around here today. My Connor boy had a really tough day and my heart is still hurting for him.

Reading your blog brought a smile back to my face and lightened my heart a bit.

Thanks! I can usually count on your blog to do that! :)

You are one special man, husband and dad! Awfully glad you're my friend!

Mary Paddock said...

Awesome story.

PJ Roths said...

'Same thing happened to me once. My daughter said something that brought tears to my eyes--though a different kind of tears. We were camping in the Colorado wilderness. My 2-year-old daughter had to go--in case into the woods. I had to do the same so I took her hand and off we went. I thought I should go first in case she needed help. I was standing and peeing, my little girl watching, when she said, "Boy, that's handy."