Saturday, May 20, 2006

Crawl, walk, run amok.

It is with the bucket-load of pride that only the heart of a granddad can produce that I hereby announce the earth shaking news that my grandson, Caleb Thomas ("Mr. C") Gregory, has joined the ranks of those whose position is not stationary. His locomotion resembles more of an infantry low-crawl than a hands and knees movement, but he is moving forward nonetheless. I expect that he will shortly determine that he can get places on his own and that riding on the hip of one of the "big people," though not as tiring, doesn't always get you where you want to be. When that happens, we (I mean, "his parents") are in big trouble. If the kid is half the adventurer that his dad was as a kid..., well, let's just say that if Josh had been born 200 years earlier, we would be reading books about Gregory and Clark. Caleb shows all the signs of his dad's inquisitive nature. He also seems to have his dad's stubborn independent streak. That combination was flammable in his dad. I hope Caleb can be kept from spontaneously combusting--it will require great parental patience from the time he turns fifteen until he is twenty-five or so.

I am convinced, both from raising two boys of my own and from raising several thousand boys entrusted to the uniformed care of Uncle Sam, that males lose their minds about the time they turn fifteen, and do not begin to regain control of themselves until their mid-twenties. In some cases, mine for example, majority ownership of a man's mind does not convey until somewhere in his mid-forties. That is actually a good thing--since the majority of my life from fifteen to forty-five was Marine environment induced testosterone turmoil, my midlife crisis consisted of relaxing and breathing deeply and slowly from the flowers of civilian life. (Okay, that "flowers of civilian life" part is a load of Barbara Streisand, but you get the picture.)

It has really been a pleasure to regain sanity at roughly the same time as my sons. There was a time when #1 and I couldn't be in the same room with each other for 3/4 of a short second without someone having to throw cold water on us. Number 2 shared my inability to suffer fools lightly, and as he enters his late twenties and I learn to speak in polysyllabic utterances heretofore not required in Marine to Marine communication, we have mellowed appreciably into caring, sharing, gentle souls who...(Okay, that's Barbara Streisand, too). Suffice it to say that my two sons and I can now be in the same room together for extended periods of time without a heated argument interrupting a fist-fight...and most people can stand to be in the same room with all three of us for at least the entirety of the aforementioned short second.

I guess there are worse things than the purgatory of raising sons. I once confided to my brother that I envied the fact that he only had daughters. The look of utter disbelief that crossed his face was one that I did not fully comprehend until my two sons went off to college and left me alone with their mother and sister. The lack of my sons' presence tilted my homeworld on its axis and spun it backward. The hormonal balance in my house shifted so cruelly in my wife and daughter's favor that this Marine literally broke down and cried at the airport when my sons went back to school at the end of Christmas break. At that broken point I instantly thought of my brother and wondered aloud at his amazing strength of character.

I better get back in shape. Caleb is going to need his granddaddy around to pull him out of the quicksand.
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