So, a number of conversations have taken place between my son and I in the last few weeks that I have been meeting to blog about. However, in the interests of time, I have decided to focus on two moments that will go down in the Great Father/Son Moments Hall of Fame.
As I may have mentioned before, my son and I go camping every year in a place called Vedauwoo Campground just East of Laramie, Wyoming. We have been doing it for five years now. The thing I love about this tradition is it seems to be just as important to my son as it is to me. I know this, because during extremely bad weather, I have given him the option of staying in a hotel instead, and every time he has requested to put up our tent come hell or high water. One year, I really thought high water was going to be an issue. This campground is famous for its bouldering. We camp, usually make a campfire, make s’mores, then wake up in the morning, pick a boulder to climb and then climb it. Once we reach the top, we take a picture of ourselves, and mission accomplished.
This year, after climbing our boulder mountain we were discussing mountain lions. We got on the subject of baby lions for some reason, and my son asked me how mountain lions were made. Of course, I ask, you mean the species, or how do mountain lions mate? He wanted to know about lion mating. OK.
So, I briefly describe lion mating and think that is sufficient. Then my son asks if that is the same way humans do it? I tell him, “For the most part.” And then I ask if he wants specific details about making a baby. To my surprise, he says, yes. I won’t go into the full details of the conversation that took place next, but I will say that it was very specific, using words like, erection, penis, vagina, ejaculation, sperm, orgasm, etc… And my 12-year-old son listened intently to every word. After I was done telling him about the birds and the bees, I asked if he had any questions. He said no. Then, after a pause, he said to me, “I think I won’t do any of that until I’m 27.” And I said, “That is alright by me.” And now that I have written this blog, I have the documentation to prove it. Good times.
The second father/son moment actually occurred yesterday. Brett is going to YMCA camp this Sunday. One of the requirements of camp is that he has a doctor’s signature indicating that he is healthy enough for camp. Unfortunately, because of time away to be with my father during his illness, I forgot all about this requirement. I called his doctor to see if he would sign a form stating that my son is healthy. He agreed. Unfortunately, once they looked at his records, the time since his last appointment was too long, so, he would need a physical. Unfortunately, his regular doctor did not have any appointments between yesterday and Sunday. Luckily, the physician’s assistant was available and she (emphasis on the word, SHE) agreed to do the physical immediately. We rushed to the doctor’s office to get my son his physical so that he could go to camp.
From the beginning, Brett was nervous. He asked if he was going to get a shot, and I said no. I just informed him that the doctor was just going to look at him and make sure that he is healthy and that it is a requirement to go to camp. The nurse weighed him, measured his height, and took his blood pressure. Once completed, she instructed my son to take off all of his clothes except his underwear and the doctor would be in shortly. Immediately upon the nurse’s departure, he asked me if she was serious. I said, “Yes. Take everything off except your underwear. It will be OK.” And then, what seemed like forever, (at least five minutes if it was a second), the doctor came in. She introduced herself, and then proceeded to ask both Brett and me a series of health related questions. This process took a good 15 minutes. After we were done, she asked if we had any questions. We both said no, but then there was a pause, and Brett said, “Actually, I do have one question. Why did I have to answer all those questions in my underwear?” Priceless. I couldn’t help but laugh. Excellent question and hilarious.
She told him he could put his shorts on until later. I didn’t have the heart to warn him beforehand. Looking back, I probably should have, but he was about to find out anyway. Later, she asked him to take off his underwear and the look on his face was as if someone was going to shoot him. He grimaced, closed his eyes and waited for torture to begin. After a couple of “Turn and your head and coughs”, she was done, no hernia. It was by far the worse part of the physical for him. He got through it and now he is cleared for camp next week, but it was definitely some uncomfortable touching. He might revise his earlier statement to waiting till 37. I have a feeling he will feel differently about that soon enough.
On the car ride home we talked about how uncool the experience was, and he was relieved to know that he would not have to do that again for a while. I thought about telling him about what the doctor wants to do to me ever since I turned 40, but then I thought, “Why scar him for life?” I’m just sayin’ …