Friday, September 01, 2006

Between BC and AD

Labor day weekend 10 years ago was a different era. I had just recently started a job at a brand new startup called Liquid Audio, Zane was living in her own apartment in SF after her roommate and best friend moved back to Kentucky to return to school, and we went up to Ashland, Oregon for the long weekend to camp, enjoy the Shakespeare Festival and dive into Crater Lake. This was also the time when our two year old friendship began to develop into something much more. However, as I said, this was a different era. This was B.C., Before Children. We met the boys about a year after this and at the time we had no idea how much a part of our lives they would become. Now they are everything to us. It's not as though I think of my life as being on hold. However, the priorities, goals and hierarchy of values is necessarily different when children are involved. While we didn't have the boys as babies, we have certainly seen them through (and continue to see them through) some of the most important and formative years of their lives. There is a reason why most of us have things from our teen years that we continue to hold onto throughout our lives. Those years, while often tumultuous, are precious. It's the beginning of our defining who we are going to be. As a parent, being given the opportunity to be a part of and help influence this time in another's life is both a gift and an enormous responsibility. I don't want to miss any of it. Zane and I were planning to return to Ashland this year as a sort of 10th anniversary. However, Frederick has his first scrimmage for High School football this weekend. When we found out about this, Zane and I just looked at each other a smiled knowingly. We both knew this is where we would be spending our weekend and there was really no second thought about it.

Jefferson turns 19 in a little over a week and is just starting his second year of college at the University of Arizona. While still a teenager both in age (and many ways in behaviour as well), he is definitely starting to make that turn into manhood. I predict that this is going to be both a challenging and growing year for him. He is living in an apartment with 3 other guys off campus. He has found a job on campus. He is really starting to get involved with his frat (which was originally a surprise), but is also vowing to focus more on his studies than he did last semester. As a college student, the only major remaining issues we have between us is (not surprisingly) money. It will be interesting to see how things go forward for his sophomore year. I hope to get down there in the next couple months to see him.

Freddy has just started high school at Bellarmine College Prep. We went to their back-to-school night and were very impressed with all, but one of his teachers. His initial concerns about attending an all-boys school seem to be fading and he may actually start to realize some of the benefits. He is getting more excited about the school and especially about football. He hasn't played in two years, but with his natural athleticism, he is a starter and likely to be one of the better players on the team. He plan to play three sports and is still focused on basketball as his main passion. Of course, the academics are our concern. The focus and self-discipline required this year are going to be Freddy's biggest challenge and our biggest worry. I think that we are going into this both a little bit wiser and better prepared than with his brother. That isn't to say that I don't anticipate any stress in the next four years, far from it. I just think that we have the tools to both head-off and respond to the inevitable teen issues that will arise.

Zane and I are generally much younger than most of our peers raising kids Freddy and Jefferson's ages. This may mean that we don't take things "in stride" as much as some parents who may be further down life's path. However, that probably has as much to do with personality as age. Being younger means that we will also be younger once both the boys have grown and are through college, though this is still a ways off. This is obviously a time I look forward to, but I don't like to over focus on it as it. Life is short and the important moments can pass by far to easily of you aren't paying attention. This era will be gone and we'll begin the next one A.D. (After Degree).

Labor day 10 years from now, perhaps Zane and I will be up in Ashland watching plays. Or, we may very well be spending it with Frederick, Jefferson and their families (scary though that thought may be). Right now, before this long weekend, I'm just going to take a few moments and stop and think about my family. Keep a smile on my face and...oh yeah...I'm supposed to give my mother a call :-).

Happy Labor Day.