Happy Birthday Son!!!
On the 5th my kid turned 26. Hard to believe that the tow headed toddler I used to chase ducks around the golf course with when he was 15mos old is closer to 30 than 20.
His mom and I met when he was 15mos old and married the week before he turned 2yo. I was the first person he called Dad(dy). He didn't talk at all as I recall. It didn't take long for that to change. He was a very quiet and mellow little boy, smart as a whip, very observant and it was a joy to be his dad.
Then the teen boy brain fart years kicked in and his mom and I traded off on wanting to strangle him. Every day for years one or the other of us was ready to do him in. Lucky for him the other one of us was willing to give him just one more day. So.... he survived to 18. We had some strife during his early to mid-teens. The fairly typical hygiene issues, my favorite being when he would swear up and down he showered and yet his hair was greasy and his head reeked like it had been months since he had bathed. There was never any BO but his head was gross. So I had him put on a bathing suit and shower in front of me..... He grabbed his bottle of shampoo, turned it upside down over his head and squeezed and proceeded to scrub his head. No suds... hmmmmm? His shampoo bottle has been empty for no telling how long. He then grabbed his body wash, squeezed some onto his wash cloth and scrubbed his body.... hence .... no BO but a greasy stinky head. So I had him squeeze some shampoo into his hand then scrub his head.... "Dad, there is no shampoo in this bottle!?!?!?!?" No shit kid. Never again did we have the stinky greasy head problem. We get a laugh out of retelling that story when the three of us are together.
There was the tendency to make straight A's for the first 6week grading period then straight F's the second six weeks. All of his new teachers would fall in love with him. He was well behaved, respectful, polite, smart, engaging then during the 2nd 6wks out phone would blow up with calls from his teachers wondering is he was on drugs, if there was some family tragedy, etc.... Nope. We told them that he figured out that the only way he could fail an entire year was to fail the same two classes two 6wk grading periods in a row and since he always made straight A's the first 6wks he would do nothing the next 6 and pass on to the next semester. Block scheduling gave him a whole new set of classes and teachers so he would repeat his strategy.... Until we shipped his butt off to Military School for his Jr and Sr year. In the first 6 week she lost 40Lbs, gained a ton of confidence and blew the doors off of the school with his performance. No second 6wk lazy crap... until his SpermIdiot hacked the school firewall and they would stay up all night playing WoW. During the first semester of his Sr. year he spent a month in the school Infirmary with a case of Swine Flu and instead of doing the work his teachers would bring to the Infirmary every day he WoW'd his way back home at mid year.
That led to the winter mid blizzard trip to the homeless camp under the elevated interstate in Philly to be introduced to his future neighbors if he refused to pull his head out and graduate on schedule. No more Military School which broke his heart. He spent the last semester of HS at our local HS where he knew no one since we had moved two weeks after he started at Military School and we no longer lived in the district where he had a great group of friends.
Instead of only needing Sr. Eng 1 and Sr. Eng 2 to graduate at the Military School... He failed Sr. Eng 1 while WoWing with his SpermIdiot he needed Sr. Eng 1, Sr. Eng 2, two math classes, two career track classes and to finish a Sr. project that was usually assigned at mid of Jr. year. After the trip to the Homeless Camp that kid was nothing but asshole and elbows busting his butt to graduate on time.... and he did. On time and with honors. He had to do the 18mo Sr. project in 3 weeks. I was impressed that he pulled it off. In addition to busting his butt to graduate he spent that record snow fall winter shoveling the driveway and side walks every two hours through 3 different record snow fall storms.... *diablo* Yep... I am an evil dad.
A month before graduation while his mom was working the usual insane tax season hours he sat down with me and stated... "Dad, mom is really mad at me isn't she?" I told him Yep but that if he graduated on time she would get over it and he might just live to 18.
He graduated three months before his 18th B-day and we kept him on our dime for the summer. He visited the SpermClan for his last CO'd visitation which sadly turned out to be the last time he saw them for more than 3 years. On his 18th birthday they canceled CS and had no contact with him until he paid to visit them three years later. While he has visited them a few times since aging out from under the CO none of those visits have been notable other than for the usual toothless manipulative crap that that shallow and polluted gene pool always puts him through.
We rolled out the red carpet of the mom and dad full ride college scholarship to any school in the world he wanted to attend (and could get in) but... as with most things this kid had different ideas and did things his way. After months of us harping on him to apply and get into school he sat me down and said "Dad, I know that college is important and I will go to college. But I am not ready and it would be a waste of my time and yours and mom's money for me to go now." As usual these talks occurred between just he and I since breaking his mom's heart was something he has always avoided at all costs. I reviewed the rules. He could live at home at no cost on one or both of two conditions. He had to either be a full time student in good standing or he could work full time. Neither were on his RADAR screen. Instead he chose to be a Sofa Rodeo pro. That kid rode our sofa into submission for a few weeks until we rolled out the live in Beck-and-call-boy/Chore bitch program and worked that kids ass off. His mom went CPA on his ass and posted a mile long daily chore spreadsheet on the pantry door. And every week it got longer. If he got his daily chores done he was allowed to stay home the next day and do that day's chores. If he failed to complete the chore list by the time his mom and I got home from work... the next morning when we left for work he was deposited on the front step with no food, water, phone, etc... until we got home that evening. Then he had to complete that day's chores by the time we left for work in the AM or... back on teh front step. It only took two instances of spending his day on the step to get the point across. One of those days was 90*+ and he had not yet figured out that the green thing screwed to wall of house was a garden hose and had all the water he could want.... He was one parched kid when we got home from work that evening... And the second time on the front step it was cold. We did lead him downstairs that AM with the comforter off of his bed in tow so he would not be hypothermic when we got home.
Shortly after the cold day incident, he enlisted in the USAF on the delayed entry program. At first he wanted to be a drone pilot (This kid is a video game junky so that is no surprise I suppose) but his 98th percentile ASVAB scores took that off the table and he had only one choice. Cyber Systems Operations... so now my kid is a computer geek.... and a good one apparently. He had to enlist for 6yrs to get that job and when they offered him a 3yr assignment in Germany if he would re-enlist for 4 more it took him about 2 seconds flat to sign the papers. He recently finished year 7 and indicates that he will stay in, do his 20 and retire at 38. After that... who knows.
Three years ago he picked up his mom from the airport and then called me in the middle of the night for a serious conversation... it was ~2AM in the Middle East so I was a bit concerned when my phone startled me out of a reasonable sound sleep. "Dad, I want to change my name." Me: "Son, that is great, what do you want to change it to? Just fill out the papers and get it done. It is the middle of the night here." "Dad, you do not get it. I am a Rags and I want a full meal deal adoption." I had a moment of stunned very happy emotional silence before replying, "Son, you and your mom call the lawyer and get it started. I will catch a plane and be there day after tomorrow." And 4 days later the Judge signed the adoption order. I was one proud man on that day. It was only papers making official what has always been the case. I am his dad. When he sent me pics of his uniform with our family name on it... I shed a tear of pride and happiness.
So kid.... keep up the amazing life you are living. Your mom and I are so proud of you.
Love you tons son.... Dad.