I am a house divided at the moment on what to write about today so I think I will probably jump around a bit. Primarily, I am thinking about my son, Ryan, today on his 32nd birthday. I certainly hope that he is doing something fun and feels good about the direction his life is going in right now.
The first birthday of his that I got to take part in was his 6th birthday.
Until he was five, I didn’t know that I was a dad. This is a long story and one that I will dive into more along the way, I’m sure, but the one thing I can share today that would hopefully be of some good feeling for him is that from the moment I knew he existed, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a part of his life.
Has it always worked out the way I hoped or wanted? No. Being the parent of an adult child who has a life they are living is sometimes difficult. I don’t get to spend the type of time with him that I would like to spend, but I know he is doing his own thing and that’s good. I feel like he is becoming the man he wants to be, and I see the growth in him consistently. I am certainly immensely proud of him.
I can’t believe I have a 32-year-old son. That means that I am, indeed, old. At least by the standards of what I thought old was when I was Ryan’s age. Obviously, I know age is just a number and I’m only as old as I feel, but sitting here, thinking about Ryan and planning out my day, I’m definitely acting my age. There is a cat sitting behind me on the couch as I type this and she’s purring away, occasionally licking the back of my neck, which makes me inwardly cringe a bit. If a cat has licked you, you know what I’m talking about.
She, Lucy, must feel like I need a little grooming. I just got out of the shower, so maybe she likes the taste of my soap or shampoo. Either way, she’s not saying.
My thoughts go back to Ryan, though, and the excitement of this 33rd year for him. He’s getting married in October and I hear that a child or eventual children are being discussed. I would love to be a grandfather again. I think fatherhood would be good for my son, even though he will face some of the same challenges that I, and most fathers, have faced.
Being an only child is not easy. For Ryan, he was an only child until he was about 17. When Rhondi and my eventual stepchildren came into the picture, and then Teresa and Liam, it was something different for Ryan, for sure. I think he likes being a brother but sometimes I feel like he’s not sure how to do it. I certainly struggle with the idea of being a brother, sometimes, too, since my own brother is about half my age.
Being a longtime only child impacted the way I chose to be a father in the beginning, for sure. I wanted so much to not be my own parents that when I used a phrase with Ryan one night when we were watching an ASU football game on TV, it startled me and made me suddenly wide awake in the fact that I was now a dad.
I said, “You know what I mean, chili bean?”
When it rolled off my tongue, so easily, I felt as if I was using my own dad’s vocal cords to push it through the air. Ryan, of course, was oblivious to what had transpired, but for me it was a wake-up call. It let me know that things would be okay if I put pieces of my own upbringing in there, even though I wanted to be different than my own dad. As I look back on things now, especially having been a dad now for 27 years and having multiple children, I still have so much to learn and ways to grow.
As Ryan takes the leap into marriage and building his own family, I hope he is willing to be open to the sometimes-painful growth that is necessary to becoming the type of parent and husband he wants to be. There will be times when shedding his tough outer layer of skin will be necessary and times when he’ll need that emotional body armor to steel his nerve. I have faith, though, that he will be amazing. He and his bride-to-be seem like they are a unified and united front and that’s a good portion of the battle right there.
The other focus of my concentration today is playing music for people. I’m nervous, but in a good way. I’ve done it a few times before, but it’s been a while. I hope I remember to take my amp off mute. (That’s another story altogether and not that exciting)
I’m also pretty jazzed about getting to DJ, which I love to do. I have no idea what records I’m going to pull yet, but I’m sure it will get figured out. Some of the other DJs today are doing a lot of Arizona music, so I’m going to go easy on that. I had an inkling to do music that came out during the era of Placebo Records (1981 to 89), but I’m not sure if that works for me either. Like this writing, which has been all stream of consciousness so far, I like to DJ in the moment and pull records randomly. It seems to work, most of the time, but who knows…maybe I just annoy the heck out of people with my genre-jumping.
Here’s to a fun, safe day/night. I’m proud to be part of the Club Placebo team and it is cool to accomplish something with a bunch of people I admire and respect.
See you at the show and see you tomorrow.