I have been a loving and affectionate father to my youngest son. In his eight years, I have read to him and tucked him in at night. I have driven him to sports events and cheered him on. I have helped to prepare his meals, wash his clothes and clean his room.
And yet nothing makes this child more gleeful than cleaning out my snot locker with a blind-sided throw-pillow roundhouse. The pained exhalation I produce when he drops a pointy elbow into my spleen makes him positively cackle. He giggles himself into a hiccuping fit with every rabbit punch, body slam, and charlie horse he delivers.
He transforms peaceful living room sofas into fighting cages, tutoring sessions into street brawls, tuck-ins into throw-downs. Belly laughing all the while.
What is that all about?
I’m not sure but it may be related to this:
My youngest son has been all that a father could ask for. He has snuggled endlessly with me, tolerated my many kisses on his fuzzy head, made me proud in equal parts with his accomplishments and his kindnesses. He is curious, funny, smart, athletic and well behaved (in public).
And yet nothing makes me smile like the squeal he emits when I get the pressure points just right on either side of his knee. No task at work has ever been quite as satisfying as dangling him off the edge of the bed over the “hot lava” of the floor. My favorite words in the English language are “Dad’s the best! Dad’s the best!” but only when rasped in surrender.
That I may be the happiest in my life when a mighty bear hug becomes just an embrace.
So what is that all about? I’m not completely sure, but I do know two things. We share it, my son and I. And it drives mom completely nuts.