Archive for June, 2010


He made it.
After all that, he made it. Got what he needed to get where he’s going. Which is all you need to do.
18. And graduated from High School as of last Thursday. No more High School. That’s it. Hello world. Hello San Jose State. Hello whatever…

The last few weeks have been emotional for me, child birthdays and developments aside (the kindergartner-to-be just turned 5).
Spurs made the Champions League and I saw it happen in Manchester, at Man City’s ground, and it was great, so great. I missed him there, knew he would’ve loved the moment, but reasoned it was near the end of High School and he needed to keep his head in the game. I got home to find out his head had not been in the game. So I had to drop my head and show some teeth. And growl. And snarl.

I feigned relative indifference, but deep down, deep in the pit, it hurt like buggery and I was nervous. What if he fucked it all up NOW, I thought. What if he doesn’t get to where he wants to go? of course I knew all the rationale, I knew all the wisdom fortune cookie bullshit, fuck, I’d been SPOUTING it all bastard year, but in the crunch, when I needed to remember it most, it wavered. I didn’t let on. I couldn’t. I needed to remain strong and a touch angry. Which wasn’t a lie. I was more than a touch angry. But also I wasn’t. And then I was.

We’d had one of our longest ever conversations when emotional things came out. The residue of being raised in two homes, however loving the environments might be, is still residue which sticks. And unless you’ve walked in those shoes, you cannot know what that journey’s like. And I haven’t walked in those shoes, so I don’t now what his journey’s been like. He told me he would occasionally be scared that I would die, that his sister would die. I unhelpfully said that we would at some point, a crude attempt at humor, but we both knew what he meant. I knew his foundations were shaking a bit, and I knew he was worried that yes, he might actually fuck it up at the last. Which in all reality boiled down as much to not being able to live on campus as anything else.
“I just want to be somewhere all the time,” he said, “not always packing bags and I want to be somewhere where I can do exactly what I want.”
Which is fair enough. At 18 I was globe-trotting and spending nights wandering New York City, wide-eyed, excited, oh-so ready…I understood what he was saying. And I also knew I couldn’t get too soft. He needed my disappointment to help continue the drive over the line.

As graduation day approached I feigned casual interest in how the grades were coming along, dropping in a sort of ‘by the way what’s going on in classes’ after discussing the projected England squad for the World Cup. But I wanted to know every single angle of the grade being written on his papers. I wanted proof..
…couldn’t force it though.
It is what it is.
It will be what it will be.
City Dharma – Arthur Jeon, yes, this got a bit of a caning on the can as I sat and pondered.
What would a Buddist do, I thought?
And then I looked at Bubbles, my cat, and realized that he had the right approach. Which was to just look around and meow.
Yes. I did just that from time to time.
And as for the graduation itself, I didn’t really buy into it, didn’t really buy into the whole ceremony. ‘School’s to BE finished!’ I’d grumble off in the corner to anyone who wanted an earful, but then, when the day arrived, my emotions shifted.

I watched him leave the hall. And I saw him outside. And I realized it has been a journey to this point. This 18th year. And we have had some great times. A fair few of them to be honest, and probably not text-book ones, and a lot of them revolving around shared football experiences with friends.Newcastle away, Everton away on that glorious summer’s day when I realized he had felt the electricity as we celebrated a goal truly together for the first time, watching him walk out with Spurs as a mascot and exchange passes with the skipper and shots on goal. But those are ours, and how nice it is we have them and many more to go along with them too. I remember a particularly funny week long drive to San Diego we took, and I still allow myself to peek back at his u-14 side that I helped coach winning their football league and him scoring the last-gasp winner, a 20 yard curler into the far corner. And I still enjoy playing in a game with him every so often because the boy can pass accurately and the boy can cross, so I enjoy great service. I remember him wheeling my bike in as I came back from the gym every morning in the mid to late 90s, and I remember Mexico with his primary school. There’s a lot I remember and a lot to remember.

And now, as I sit down and try and make sense of it all, listening to Deep Dish and Tracy Thorn collaborating on ‘The Future Of The Future (Stay Gold)’ I suppose I am emotional about it all. In a good way you understand. He made it after all, he’s out of school and about to embark on another journey. And he’s out tonight, again, with friends. As he should be. School’s done, he’s 18. Funny thing is that last night, hours after his graduation, hours after the celebratory lunch, I found myself sitting in this recliner and restless. So I decided to go and have a drink with one of my old Spurs buddies.

I called him, just mentioning I was heading over to my friend’s establishment, and he said that was cool, thanks, but he was in another part of town with friends. Which was great of course. And so I went and had a few beers with my friend, and we got the bar to re-run the last 20 mins of Spurs winning their Champions League place on May 5th. And I cheered again when the goal went in. And as I made my way home later that night, the sense of true change dawned on me a little more, just a little more…a bit melancholic? I wouldn’t admit it if it were even true!

I called him earlier just to check in and see what was going on.
“Oh it’s all good thanks, but hey, do you mind if I call you back later tonight because I’m out.”

For the first time in 18 years he hasn’t called me back when he said he would.
And you know what?
It’s fine, it really is…he’s earned the right.

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