Way back in the day, I was able to get by with a little more around Lil and Josh than I can now. These days, they'll be quick to remind me of how old they are. They'll get over that one day. However, I do not expect to follow suit. Nope, no matter how much they complain. It's my job, you know.
One thing used to occur with some regularity. They would do something well in school, and they'd bring me the papers to show. I reviewed one paper at the time, letting them explain what they had done. This was a ruse to get them in my lap. Later when they had learned from experience, they maintained a safer distance as they explained things to me.
After they had told me about what they'd done, I would ask a question or two, sit silently for a moment, and then, what with being a proud papa, I couldn't restrain myself, and I'd blow up. Yes, blow up all over them. So proud that I exploded. Loud booms! And tickles. Always tickles. Later when they were more suspicious, I'd have to chase them across the house to blow up properly. Of course, some explosions were timed delayed with many stages, and just as they thought they were safe, the next stage would unleash.
The opportunities to explode on them have long since fallen to the wayside. They're young adults, you know, and what makes proper comportment changes.
So I get this text message from Josh. “Pick up your phooooooonne.” I saw I'd missed a call from him, and he rarely calls, so I returned the call immediately, thinking he probably needs bail or something. He also has his squeeze visiting for the week, and he ought to be occupied with something better than calling me. I figured that whatever it was, it'd be good. Or alarming. Or both.
It turns out that he had been accepted into flight school with the Air Force. I made him repeat his message to be sure I had heard correctly. We had a congratulatory conversation, and then we hung up. I set at my desk reflecting on this turn of events. Flying is his first passion, and I thought he had about given it up when he didn't make the first cut. He was on the wait list instead, on that list for nearly a year, and here with graduation looming, he was set to do whatever his second choice was.
About 21 years of his life, my life, our lives, passed before my eyes.
With that, I stepped out to the back deck at work, alone fortunately, closed the door behind me, and called him back. When he answered, I asked him to put his phone on speaker. He did. He was not alone, and there, with workers from our neighboring buildings going about their outdoor work, I screamed a series of BOOM!s over the phone, probably six or nine, but I didn't count.
I suppose he was able to explain that moment to the people standing near him and his phone. I didn't bother to explain to the nearby workers. It all seemed self-evident, at least to me. It probably just gave our office park neighbors more to talk about.