Tonight was one of my two nights each week where my son and I have the evenings to ourselves because my wife teaches a night class at a local community college. Our father-son nights have always been a uniquely satisfying time for us, when we are able to give each other an undivided attention that doesn’t happen during the rest of the week.
Our evenings usually end with me sitting on or kneeling next to his bed as he snuggles into his pillow, both of us recounting how we have enjoyed the evening and each other. Invariably, he will make a profound statement or ask a question that has no easy, thirty-second answer. In these moments, I am struck by his young wisdom and challenged to comment or answer in a way that is honest, yet understandable to someone just past his seventh birthday.
Tonight, as I rose to my feet to leave his room, he said, “Being a kid is the most fun part of our lives, isn’t it?”
I looked at him earnestly, realizing that answering a simple “yes” to his question might make him dread growing up. I knelt back down, my face just a foot or so from his, brushing his hair back off his forehead with my hand. And I answered him: “As a kid, you’ll likely have the most pure fun of your life, free from the responsibilities that come along with being an adult. But as an adult, you will have the most incredibly satisfying experiences of your life, a life that you can truly make your own.”
I tussled his hair and kissed his forehead, told him I loved him, and wished him good dreams. I silently wished him a tomorrow made of authentic, pure fun and enough wisdom to bring him one step closer to his experiences of the future.