One of my sons celebrated his 16th birthday last month. He received a gift card, a little bit of cash and a check from one of his grandparents as gifts for the special occasion.
A few days later he asked if I would take him to the mall. I assumed that those birthday gifts were burning a hole in his pocket. At the time I didn’t think much of it, but as the two of us were walking through the Green Tree Mall, I wondered if my teenage son felt awkward walking around with his middle-aged father.
I tried to imagine my own father walking around with me at the mall. My dad wasn’t a bad guy when I was growing up. He is just not the kind of guy that would volunteer to drive his teenage son to the mall. I don’t think that makes me a better father, I just enjoy spending a little time with my children individually, which I wish I had more time to do. As for whether my 16-year-old son minded walking through the mall, I don’t think he gave it a seconds thought.
My youngest son got mad at me last summer. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was about, I just remember walking into his room and finding a note taped to his door that read: “Note to self: Don’t make promises with dad for the rest of your life.”
I assume that I offered to do something with him and wasn’t able to live up to my obligation. Sometimes things come up and 11-year-olds don’t always understand.
I try hard not to make promises that I can’t keep with my children, but every once in a while I make plans for the future and we can’t always get everything in. Usually, it revolves around offering to take them to the park or to the pool and it may be too cold or raining that day. Sometimes my children need more time than I can provide, but I always try to do my best.