My beloved grandson finished his summer job a couple weeks ago. He wanted something and was willing to work for it. Eight hours a day in a cornfield in 90 degree weather is hard work, but he stuck with it. I couldn’t be prouder of him and I told him so. Like most healthy males, I always wanted a son. The Good Lord saw fit to give me two beautiful daughters. I left both their mothers when they were still young and wasted many years doing what I wanted to do. I missed a lot while they were growing up. My youngest daughter didn’t even invite me to her wedding. That’s a shame I will carry with me to the grave.
My oldest, RJ’s mom, was much more forgiving and I’m forever grateful for the chance to have the relationship I neglected for so long. My dad died when I was three and granddad was a good man, but much older, and we didn’t share much outside of farm work. That’s not an excuse, that’s just how it was. Big Sis was born two years before RJ. She was my first grandchild. People must have gotten sick of my bragging on her. The day her brother was born I went to see them in the hospital. Her mom, stepdad, and several family members all crowded into the room. I held that little boy and my first thoughts were that this was the son I never had.
RJ’s dad is into softball and coaches Junior Tackle football on RJ’s school team. Nobody else in the family fishes, so this is my special time with him. His football and baseball games are well attended, with two sets of parents, grandparents, sisters, and various family members. Family dinners draw a lot of people and there is precious little time to talk with him. Like most boys, when I call to ask him to go out, he’s always ready. When I was his age I’d sometimes wait all summer for one of mom’s boyfriends to take me carp fishing just one time.
My life is full of missed chances, wasted opportunities, and more than my share of stupid mistakes. But for once, just once, I can be a hero to a young boy. Heaven, I’m sure, will be much like this.