My day today started out in a way no one wants. I got word that the repair on my car would cost thousands. It was enough to put me in a mindset that no one should have to endure, especially those around me. I let Tracy know that I would not make her suffer my poor mood by simply not talking to her until I arrived home. After work I had planned on photographing my son for his pre graduation image. He is my youngest and graduates in two days. I told him that we would have to ‘eat on the cheap’ tonight, since my wallet will be completely deleted in a few days. He happily went along with me, so we decided to hit one of our favorite fast food venues. On the way to get ‘dinner,’ he let me know that one of the jobs he has held for three years (he’s held two jobs for three years) was one he was resigning from early next month. It’s a job most teens don’t hold, but because of his skills and discipline, he was allowed to work there.
When I asked why, he said, ‘Dad, when a hobby turns into a job and that job is no longer fun, it’s just not worth it. And I can make more money going full time during the summer at the other place.’ As I listened to his reasoning, my heart and soul filled with pride. I recalled the time when he was only four and wanted to quit sucking his thumb. As toddlers both he and his sister were passionate thumb suckers. Each night their mom and I would tuck them in and they would cuddle and stroke their handmade blankets we called ‘Mimi’s.’ One night Niko’s mom handed him his mimi as she always did just before kissing him goodnight. Niko said, ‘Oh no Mom, I don’t want my mimi tonight.’ When she inquired as to why he simply said, ‘Mom, when I have my mimi, I want to suck my thumb and I don’t want to suck my thumb anymore.’ When she came out of their bedroom to tell me Niko’s reasoning, we both had a good cry. Niko’s ability to reason and his self discipline has been with him since I can recall.
So tonight when he told me his decision to quit one of his jobs, his thought process didn’t surprise me, not one bit. I’ve told him that I was proud of him before and he almost always wants to know ‘Why.’ For him it is not enough to hear those words all sons wish to hear from their fathers, he wants the back up to those words. So I simply told him that I was proud of how he thinks, what he considers and how he arrives at the best solution for his life. And as we began shooting for this portrait, he wanted to see some of the pieces on my camera’s LCD. He smiled and asked how I made it ‘look like night’ and as I explained the process to him, he smiled again and said, ‘Dad, thanks for the idea, I’m bringing some people out here to shoot them myself.’
So when I arrived home tonight, I had no thoughts of my impending monetary layout to repair my car. Instead I marveled at how very lucky I am to be the father of a man who I have always respected. And yes, just like when he told his mom that he didn’t want his mimi, I shed some transitional tears tonight. Money can never buy how I feel.