Back in mid-October, Austin told me the news, starting with the words, “Dad, I need to tell you something.” I wrote about it here.
What he had to tell me, of course, was that I was going to be a grandfather. It happened April 5. I’m much too young to be a Granddad, so I became Pop.
But in the two months and change that have followed, a lot more has happened. My son has become a Father, in all the best ways.
He graduated from high school last week. We all piled in the car for his graduation at the Cabarrus Arena, about 30 or so miles away. It wasn’t easy to find, even for Austin’s GPS on his phone. We got there first, as it turned out, because we wanted to get a good seat when they opened the doors – it was festival seating.
As we waited outside, we saw a car that might have been his. Karen said she thought it was because of one of the dents. I said it definitely was his – because of the Baby On Board placard on the back of it.
We got through the ceremony – despite the best efforts of the speaker, who mostly talked about himself and what a wonderful life he’d had – and later that night had a celebration dinner.
About that dinner. When Karen and I had Austin, we were living in Gastonia (the hellmouth of weird, detailed here), We had no family around. And we really couldn’t afford to pay a babysitter. So we pretty much took Austin everywhere. He was a really good baby (as opposed to me – my mom always told Karen what a bad baby I was).It worked out fine.
So anyway, when we were planning the graduation ceremony, we originally made a reservation for six – Austin and Grace, Karen and I and Garrett and Nicki – figuring little Samu-El (his Kryptonian name) would stay with Grace’s mom or one of Grace’s sisters. Austin let us know we were wrong. “We take him with us, Dad.”
So we changed the reservation. The restaurant accommodated us with an even better table, and we had a fantastic time. He was great while we ate, though I caught him looking longingly at the ribs I was pounding.
The point is, they wanted him with them whenever possible.
And you should see them with their little Superbaby. They’re so attentive. Austin takes great care of his boy, and he just beams whenever he’s holding him.
We asked whether there were any graduation parties: Austin didn’t know and didn’t care. He was focused on his little family, not worrying about parties. (An aside: I didn’t go to a graduation party either – I was still in the doghouse from the prom that year – a tale for another time, if I haven’t told it already.)
Here’s the other thing: Austin got his final report card last week. With everything he had in front of him, from worries about jobs and babies and everything else, he got all “A’s.”
He starts a new job tomorrow. He’s pretty excited about it. He hasn’t by any means ruled out more school of some kinds.
So here’s what I need to tell Austin:
You’re already a great dad. I’m so proud of you, and I wish I could be more like you.
“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.”
– William Shakespeare