WATCHIN’ SCOTTY GROW
For My Son, on His 50th Birthday: I’ll always Be There
“There he sits with a pen and a yellow pad
What a handsome lad
That's my boy
BRLFQ spells mom and dad
But that ain't too bad
That's my boy”
I was there when you were born; crying, screaming, covered in your mother’s bodily fluids, and I watched as the fussing stopped immediately when you were placed on her bare chest. Trust begins very early.
I was there during your first breast feeding, watching a look of utter love come over your mom’s face, a look I’d never seen myself, and yet still feeling proud of you both.
I was there the day you realized our dog would follow you anywhere, and a boy’s love for animals was born, never to die.
I was there the day that dog died, and a little part of you was buried in the back yard, right alongside Rex. And three weeks later, when I let you pick out your own dog from the pound; a big, goofy black Lab that would push you to the ground and pounce on you, licking you until you giggled.
“Riding on daddy's shoulders off to bed
Old sleepy head
That's my boy
Got to have a drink of water and a story read
A teddy bear named Fred
That's my boy
We'll listen to the radio
Biding my time and
Watching Scotty grow”
I was there the first time a bully pushed you to the ground, and you instinctively got up and pushed back. I taught you that.
I was there the moment it hit you how much your parents love you, and then 4 years later when you put that love to the test, and we showed you again.
I watched you walk out of the dugout, collect your very first trophy, and then come to the fence and hand it through to me, to hold, until later. When you would want it back.
I was there when you learned the incredible power a kiss can wield. And how a kiss can open a woman’s heart.
I was there when you first had sex, and then three years later, when you made love for the first time, and learned the difference.
I was there when you flipped me off to my back, and then again two days later, when you voluntarily confessed and apologized to me for it.
I was there when you discovered how to love for the first time. And then, a year later, when you got to feel what it’s like to BE loved.
I was there the first time you asked your teacher a question that forced him to pause and think, and then watch that teacher see you in whole new light the rest of the semester.
I was there when, college degree in hand, black gown flowing in the breeze, your tassled mortarboard having already been flung to the education heavens, you embraced your mother just off the stage in a minute long hug. I never felt so proud, or alone.
I was there when you got your first job, and wore your first suit, and swore you were headed to the top. And I learned that day about how a father worries about a son, and his boy’s expectations.
I was there the first time you asked whether or not you should own a gun. I resisted my first impulse of “hell, NO!” And then I asked you ‘why’? You looked at me for a moment, nodded your head, and we never spoke of it again.
I was there the first time you asked me if I believed in God. “Do you?” was my response. Once more, a subject we never discussed again.
I was there the day you got married. A beautiful bride had given you her heart. Or so I had thought. Something wasn’t right about her. I just felt it. I wrote it off to a father’s instinct that no one was good enough for his boy. I hated that I turned out to be right. She would break both our hearts.
I was there the first time you encountered the heartbreak oftreason when, home early from work, you walked in on your wife, astride another man, her betrayal forever cemented in your mind as her hips continued riding up and down, even while she looked over her shoulder at you, crying.
I was there 5 years later; after the restraining order, after intense counseling, when you embarked on the long odds journey to find the 2nd love of your life. And to maybe learn to trust again.
I was there when we buried your mother; a shaken, defeated man vainly trying to be strong for you, and failing miserably. I literally leaned on you for support, our role change not going unnoticed by either of us.
I was there the day you told me how lucky you felt about being an only child, about getting the full love and undivided attention of a mother and a father. I never told you about your mom’s 3 miscarriages.
I am there as you hear the doctor tell us that I have brain cancer, and it is spreading, and I am dying.
I am there as you walk the doctor out of the room, return to my bed, and hug me silently.
I am there as I write this the very next night.
I am no longer there the next week when I die in your arms.
I will never be there for you again.
Death is the only thing that could have stopped me.
“I think I'll stay right here and
Say a little prayer before I go
Me and God
Watching Scotty grow
Me and God
Watching Scotty grow...”
© Copyright 2016 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.