When Elijah was a little boy, I used to take him to the riverwalk to ride his toy car along the walking path. This was when we were living in Clarksville, Tennessee.
In my hometown, there’s a riverwalk that has a pedestrian bridge that connects to the downtown area, but it’s nothing like Downtown Detroit. Clarksville is a much smaller city than Detroit. I’d say the downtown area is similar to Downtown Mt. Clemens (Michigan).
Back in Clarksville, I’d take Elijah to the riverwalk to play and enjoy the sunshine. Sometimes we’d have picnics at the park tables. Sometimes I’d take him over to the playground across the riverwalk.
Then as he got older things started to change. Soon Elijah started school and I’d drop him off at the parent drop-off line. Elijah started getting involved with extracurricular activities and that meant more taking him here, there, and everywhere.
I’d take him to his soccer games, friends’ birthday parties, band practices, karate classes, drum lessons, and school dances.
Last year, I dropped him off at his first job. That was surprisingly a little tough for me. Then Elijah graduated high school. Another bittersweet moment.
Present Day— I find myself standing next to my son at a rock concert. At a bar.
All I’m saying is— how did the time go by so fast? How did we go from picnics at the park, soccer games, and school dances to now full-time jobs and rock concerts at bars?
My son towers over me when he stands beside me. Elijah’s about 6’0″ and I’m 5’3″(ish). It’s ironic-– I look up to him now. (double-meaning)
We have these deep talks about his life goals, relationships, work-life, and social issues. Elijah gives me advice and sometimes it’s when he doesn’t even know it. Sometimes he just says something so profound that gets me thinking about my life choices and being a better person.
You know– he wants to join the Marines. It’s his dream career. He may need eye surgery so we’re working on that right now. Once his vision is where it needs to be, he’s going to join the Marine Corps. For now, Elijah’s going to go to college and work full-time.
Funny thing is, I don’t even like heavy metal. It’s not my thing.
Elijah loves it, though. He likes to share with me his favorite rock videos or lyrics to his favorite metal songs. And then tells me how the lyrics connect to his life in some way.
Or he’ll basically do a literary analysis of these heavy metal songs and I’m just standing there feeling completely blown away because…
…(1) I can’t quote song lyrics verbatim the way my son does, and (2) Elijah has shown me another side of heavy metal and rock music!
When we were at the punk rock festival, I was sitting down at a table while Elijah was standing against a wall a few feet behind me. Travis was sitting near the back of the bar because the loud music was bothering his ears.
This heavy metal rock band was on the stage and the lead singer was just screaming into the mic. I looked back at Elijah to see how he was doing because I knew he loved this kind of music.
There he was standing there, raising his hand up and bobbing his head to the guitar and loud screaming. But he was smiling, too. (It was a little smile because I’m thinking it’d probably be too cool to smile big.)
But I do know Elijah looked happy and that’s all that mattered to me.
As the band continued playing, I overheard a woman’s voice behind me. She was talking to Elijah and asked him something about standing on the chair near him.
Turns out the woman’s son was in the band. He looked close to Elijah’s age. The band member’s mom was trying to record her son’s band playing at the rock festival.
Talking over the music the mom said to Elijah, “That’s my son!”
She was using her cellphone to capture the moment and would sometimes turn on the flash. It was so bright it was like putting on a spotlight on the front row of the fans.
I chuckled to myself because I thought it was very ironic the other mom and I was at the same rock concert supporting our sons– only my son was a music fan and her son was in the band.
Later, Elijah said to me the other mom reminded him of me. He said the mom standing on a chair to use her cellphone to record her son playing in a band is exactly what I would do.
He was absolutely right! I would do something like that.
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