I got a chance to visit old radio pal Bob Brooks today. I’ve got a 15-year lead on him when it comes to raising kids, so he’s dealing with all the changes that happen with a 10-year-old son.
Our discussion took me back to when my youngest was only 10. I was close with both kids and it wasn’t unusual for us to walk along somewhere, hand in hand. It was probably a mutual comfort thing and I knew very well that there would come away when that little hand would be all grown up.
I’m sure he’d never even remember this, even in therapy, but when Ty was in the 5th grade, we’d be out and he would still grab my hand out of a 10-year. While I hated to have that practice end, I was afraid that his classmates would tease him, or worse yet, somebody would see an older man holding the hand of a 10-year-old boy and get the completely wrong idea. So, I started consciously making my hand unavailable. He would reach out and I’d have some excuse for not holding hands. It was a gradual breaking way, but in time, the practice stopped. While talking with Bob today, he was kinda running into the same issue.
Funny, but as I told the story, I could feel my eyes tearing up. I didn’t want to stop holding hands, but I knew it was his own good and so I did what I felt was best. In the twisted mind that I still carry around with me to this day, I still feel bad about doing it.
As a parent, letting your kids grow up is one of the toughest things you’ll ever have to do.