I have been a parent for twenty years. In all of those years, I have experienced a few times when it really, truly sucked. The first time, Chase was in the hospital because he was not breathing well. All kinds of scary words were bandied about by the doctors. Ultimately, is was an asthma attack, and he was fine. It was, up to that point, the most scared I ever felt.
The second time, I had to tell Chase he was going to lose his mother. That was an awful day and one I do not wish on any one. Watching your mate of nearly twenty years die is bad enough, telling your twelve year old is even worse.
While the third time isn’t quite the same, it was equally painful. That was the day Chase moved out and on his own. While Preston and Xander still live us, and will for a few more years, having my first born move out was painful. I never really thought it would be quite that bad, but, it was. Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of him and am happy he can survive on his own. He is doing quite well.
Even though he is a fine, 20 year old young man, Chase is still my little boy, and always will be. He has been a rock for myself, indeed, our whole family. We did quite a bit together, went to a NASCAR race (he hates them, that’s his biggest flaw), been on numerous trips together and, best of all, he shares my love of thrill rides and amusement parks.
That love of amusement parks, the thrill rides and games have served as a bonding mechanism. We can have fun doing other things, but nothing has compared to the trips we have taken to amusement parks.
The last two years we have made the trip from Richmond to Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina just to ride rollercoasters. But, honestly, it wasn’t so much the destinations, for me, but the journey getting there. We talked, shared things we had not shared in the past and just enjoyed the drives.
Recently, I went to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with my family. We all went…my wife, in-laws, Xander and Preston. Chase, however, was unable to go. This was the first time I went to a new to us park without him. While I had aa great time with my family, there was something missing. Seeing the joy and sense of wonder in Preston and Xander was awesome and reminded me of the same thing I saw in Chase–and still do–when he was a child. The trip, though, just wasn’t the same. And, that is something I need to get used to…going places without him. He has his own life and will be doing things without us. He still wants to do things with me, and that is just awesome. I will cherish those time as much as I do all of the years worth up to now. And, I have two more children to do so with, and that, too, is awesome.
I guess I should be happy with all of the memories, but, I am a selfish son of a bitch and don’t want to let go. But, as with everything, I guess I have to…so, I guess that is the fourth time.
Man, this growing up thing is hard.