Monday, August 23, 2010
My Two Sons
I’ve talked or mentioned both of my children here before, but I thought I would give a little more detail without embarrassing them too badly.
We have two sons, which in my family is no surprise. My older brother has two sons; I have two sons; my younger brother has three sons, I do have a half-sister from my father’s first marriage who has – yes – two sons. My nephews from my older brother have three boys and a girl between them (obviously, one of my nephews didn’t get the right instructions). And my oldest son now has – a son.
My oldest, Travis, is 30, is married to Stephanie and the father of Cameron. He manages a Hilton hotel here in St. Louis. And he blogs at Life Changes, Do We? His blogging was a real surprise because he never showed much inclination toward writing while he was in school. In fact, this was the child who told me during in his sophomore year in college, with real surprise in his voice, that studying actually helped him take a test.
He was born thinking he was an adult. He walked at nine months, and he walked for one day. After that, he ran. And he was quick. He tried to start my car in the garage when he was 2. He figured out how to escape from his baby bed by throwing the teddy bear over the side and then jumping on top the bear to cushion the jump. Or he slid down the curtains, bending the curtain rod.
He loved sports from the time he could watch television. We found him at 5 a.m. one Saturday morning when he wasn’t quite five, watching golf on TV. He loved (loves) all sports, but he especially loves baseball. He inherited that gene from his maternal grandfather; he certainly didn’t get it from his father, who once scandalized his wife’s family by saying he thought baseball was boring. I have since learned better. With Travis, we did Little League baseball for years. We did the teen leagues. We did basketball games. We did soccer. Did I tell you that I’m not sports-inclined? My mother-in-law beat me once in basketball – we were playing HORSE. And she was on crutches.
Our youngest is Andrew, who is 22 and gainfully employed with Farmers Insurance in Kansas City. We waited almost eight years to have Andrew, because Travis almost convinced us we would be a one-child family. Andrew arrived at the end of a very difficult year – the death of father, a blow-up at the church we were attending, and my career suddenly a shambles.
While his brother would crawl into the laps of strangers at restaurants, Andrew would become nearly hysterical at the sight of a stranger. He'd become hysterical at the sight of a neighbor.
Andrew also likes sports, but has always been more selective about it than his older brother. He loves soccer, and I think his life’s ambition still is to own a European football team. He was always the quiet and rather shy one of the two boys, and I think we worried about him until his sophomore year in high school. He came home one day and said he’d been nominated to this national program, and he wanted to go to Australia for three weeks in the summer. Swoon we did, but we played it cool and didn’t let him see us in shock.
He went, and he came back almost a different kid. He snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, camped in the Australian outback in the winter, learned to crack a whip, spent four days with a family in Sydney and went to school with their kids. And the next summer he went to Europe with the same program, and harvested tomatoes on Malta, discovered gelato in Italy and thought Paris was a pretty cool place.
Physically, my oldest looks like my wife’s side of the family, and my youngest looks like my side of the family. The photo above was taken at Andrew’s graduation from the University of Missouri in May, and you can see the family resemblance in both of them.
One of the coolest things about the two of them is that despite the almost eight years difference in their ages, they are really close to each another. Andrew was the best man at his brother's wedding.
They’ve both turned into rather decent adults. Yes, for a long time we didn’t know that would happen, especially the teen and college years. For both of them.
Just like their father. Except we still wonder about him.
To see other posts on children, please visit the One Word Blog Carnival over at Bridget Chumbley's place.