Daddy To Dad

It’s happened. Not too long ago my son, all of seven years old, asked me if he could call me “Dad” instead of “Daddy”. He even had the temerity to ask me to refrain from calling myself “Daddy” in public. His shame would be irreversible he assured me. I should have known it was coming; I’d seen signs for some time. Earlier in the year I was walking past his classroom and called out to him and waved. He looked up briefly but dropped his eyes quickly and kept his hands on his desk. The boy sitting next to him happily waved back to me and gave me a huge grin. If that wasn’t enough, some time ago I told him that I loved him and, no kidding, his response was “uh okay, thanks.” Ugh, that smarts.

Yes, I know; all of this is supposed to happen but it doesn’t dull the pain of cold, hard realization. My son is growing up and it’s happening faster than I thought possible. He’s developing a sense of self and independence; he’s taking the first tentative steps into a world without me. It’s normal, it’s undoubtedly healthy but it’s killing me. There was a time when he was such a tender, affectionate boy. Now I get armless hugs and disdainful moans when I hold him a few seconds too long. Still, sometimes I see a glimpse of the boy that was. Tonight he asked me to help him with a Poptropica puzzle. We worked on the solution together and after I prodded he begrudgingly gave me a “thank you”. Then, for a second, he flashed me the smile. It was the real deal–full of love, appreciation and happiness. Nowadays these little moments are fleeting but they confirm that the little boy is still in there somewhere. It’s not a lot but I’ll take every single one of them.

 

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27 Comments

  1. Posted March 14, 2012 at 12:35 am by k@ | Permalink

    Bamboo makes vegetal cages where the kids & birds feel free to express themselves ;) Super touching !

  2. Posted March 14, 2012 at 6:30 am by yz | Permalink

    cute story and a fantastic image

  3. Posted March 14, 2012 at 10:50 am by Corinna | Permalink

    Ugh. NO! I’m not ready! (Of course, Ez is 3, but still…)

  4. Posted March 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm by CrashRyan | Permalink

    nicely framed! a bit of a mystery ….

  5. Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:50 am by sherri | Permalink

    yes, and it’s faster than it used to be too. i called my father “daddy” until the day he died and never thought anything about it. our two oldest never expressed feelings like this, although at some point without saying anything, they changed to “dad” and mom” in public. matthew who is 19 years behind the first two has always been mindful of anything and everything. i think it’s a worsening society of children who have been forced to grow up fast and they are inflicting criticism on the minority of children who have two loving parents who could shelter them for a few more years. the mind of a child isn’t ready for all this. they feel the pain as much as we do, but they think it’s expected. of course i’m not informing you of anything you didn’t already know.

  6. Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:58 am by rian | Permalink

    a fine image for today’s post.. dad sounds much cooler.. ;D

  7. Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm by Aurore | Permalink

    A very sensitive post, Christopher, as always on your page, and your photo is so meaningful in beautiful b&wtones… on the verge to leave the frame…

  8. Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm by Phil Vaughn | Permalink

    They absolutely do grow up so quickly. Having been in the position that you are experiencing, I can tell you that you and your son will both survive this. You might lose that openly adoring child, but you will gain the bond of son who also happens to be your friend. It all brings back memories.

  9. Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm by Kala | Permalink

    Lovely image. Christopher, I’m a bit older than you and I can tell you that time goes by much too quickly, even more so as we age. Savor the moments. All of them.

  10. Posted March 16, 2012 at 4:31 am by fabrizio | Permalink

    Your word are out of the step with the times, children who grow, seek their own space, also i like the photo iy is very significant, in my opinion

  11. Posted March 16, 2012 at 7:52 am by rolandtheys | Permalink

    Excellent shot!

  12. Posted March 16, 2012 at 9:20 am by Rob | Permalink

    The pains of growing up. IT is difficult on all, child and parent.

  13. Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm by Marcie | Permalink

    They do grow up so fast!! And – I consider myself lucky that my grown-up kids still call me ‘Mommy’. Not even ‘Mom’. It’s kind of nice..y’know?!?!

  14. Posted March 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm by Stéfan | Permalink

    Very touching.

  15. Posted March 17, 2012 at 6:00 am by george | Permalink

    It’s just an “inbetweeny” stage…

    He/we all need our space…a subtle approach and you’ll soon be best mates!

  16. Posted March 18, 2012 at 6:25 am by Will | Permalink

    I often wondered why some kids (especially boys) go through this stage in life. I remeber I did as well.

    I think most boys want the love from their parents, but society says it’s not a manly thing to do and as a result they ask their parents not to say “I love you” or not to come pick them up from school as they feel somewhat embarrassed. I remember I did, I think it’s a very European/North American thing for boys, the love is still there but society doesn’t encourage boys to seek it.

    When I go to South Korea with Sue and spend time there I find it’s the opposite, teenage boys will happily go shopping with their mothers, play sports with their days and they will all have naps together on a rug in the living room which I found really strange to begin with, but it’s just a cultural thing. The love there is quite open.

    Love is all around, it’s just expressed more subtley some places. I hope one day you both sit down together for a drink or dinner and he tells you about how his son is doing what he is doing now and you tell him he was just the same ;-)

    Great photo as always. Guess I should have said that first.

  17. Posted March 18, 2012 at 7:20 am by Doug Hickok | Permalink

    Your picture is extraordinary. I know what you mean, I dearly miss my little boy, who is now 21, and our relationship is at best touch and go. It is a learning process for us both, so I am hoping times will get better in the future.

  18. Posted March 18, 2012 at 8:04 am by faisal | Permalink

    nice tones and contrasts.

  19. Posted March 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm by Céline | Permalink

    Beautiful composition and b&w!

  20. Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:16 am by joshi daniel | Permalink

    nicely captured!

  21. Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:00 am by Navin Harish | Permalink

    That is growing up. My son is also seven and he feels embarassed to hold my hand. If I have to drop him to school, he would instinctivly hold my hand and as gets close to the gate, he leaves my hand.

  22. Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm by glen | Permalink

    I still get called Daddy, and I will hold on to that for as long as I can. My seven year old also plays poptropica.

  23. Posted March 28, 2012 at 4:28 am by Rue Du Lavoir | Permalink

    Graphique et magnifique…
    Très beau texte aussi.

  24. Posted March 30, 2012 at 7:47 am by Klaus | Permalink

    so well done Christopher .. the image and the story

  25. Posted April 8, 2012 at 1:04 am by janina | Permalink

    The photo — excellent. We’re looking in on childhood through the band sof a life long-lived. Memories flood back as we read your story. For me, after a while I changed it to Maman, a Frenchy more stylish version of Mommy; she still called me Mushipum until her dying day at the age of 79!

  26. Posted April 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm by Krista | Permalink

    Love this!

  27. Posted April 10, 2012 at 6:58 am by PhotoAttraction | Permalink

    Lovely textures and light in a great b&w.
    The bamboo looks like japanese swords

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