Things I Envy About My Kids

Category: Weekly Columns

We are not supposed to envy our kids or our spouses, for that matter. But, there are a lot of “notsupposedto’s” that just aren’t realistic. Spouses can be competitive while still rooting and loving one another. As with all things kid-related, when it comes to our kids it gets more complicated. There are many things I envy about the things my kids have in their lives, the opportunities that lie ahead, and just being younger and less jaded than me.

But, for the most part, my envy is just related to those things that have passed me by, that I’m too old to do or enjoy, or that didn’t even exist in one form or another during my childhood, college days, and young adulthood. However, I also am one of those “back in my days” kind of middle-aged guys who do enjoy reflecting on the simpler pleasures and simpler times that I remember so very well.

Nonetheless, this is going to be a list of things that I envy about my boys, what may be ahead for them in the future, and the many firsts they’re likely and hopefully going to experience. There is no order to this list:

~~ The excitement of First Love. My older son has already had both the excitement and the disappointment of a “first love.” I adored his girlfriend and felt almost as bad as he did when they broke up. She was the daughter I never had and she brought a lot of sunshine into our home during the year they were together. Now, I am waiting for a similar experience with my younger son. He’s quieter, more easily embarrassed by anything and everything I do, so I don’t even know if he’ll tell us if/when he’s having that “first love.”

~~ Going to college. Again, I will get to vicariously experience my older son’s college experience first. What I envy about his just begun college experience is that he is passionate about his choice of college and the direction he hopes to pursue – all in music. He’s going to such a cool school – The Berklee College of Music – and I envy the sure-to-be incredible times he’s already having! When we visited the campus for his audition last year and saw all they offered in the way of every toy, every form of music, dozens of practice rooms, extraordinary classes, performance opportunities galore, and a music library out of your dreams, blew me away. Only one word sums it up: WOW!

~~ The future. It seems obvious that the speed of emerging technologies is accelerating. I will likely miss the opportunity to go into space, to time travel, to travel a la Star Trek in “Beam me up, Scotty” style, and flying cars, etc. What will be we don’t know, but I have no doubt much of it will be very cool.

~~ The joy of becoming a parent. I became a dad four days after my 40th birthday so if/when I become a grandpa I will be pretty darn old. I don’t know if my boys will choose to have kids at all. I expect one or both will and my experience has gone by so quickly, that I wish I could do it all over again – even the horrible first two years!

My son, who is now 19 and in college...

~~ Driving. I’m now finishing up teaching my second son how to drive. I remember how much both he and his brother literally glowed when a friend of mine let them drive his truck on some nearby salt flats. The joy on their faces was priceless. With each boy, I’ve seen both the fear and excitement, as they got more and more confident in their driving skills. Later, as their lives progress and they get more (financially) independent, I expect they’ll get the same charge that I did upon purchasing their first car.

Driving a friend's truck at 12 - my son was IN HEAVEN - on the salt flats...

~~ Sex. I just realized I could pretty much use every word about “Driving” and apply it to sex. The first time happens just once. But, there are actually many first times. The first time you hold a girl’s hand, the first kiss, and, then going around the proverbial bases of the infield. Each base seemingly herculean to achieve and each one meriting a shout of joy and pride.

I have a poor memory but I remember taking my first crush to see Peter, Paul, and Mary at The Hollywood Bowl. I was 15; she was 16. We sat next to each other and I struggled for the entire concert to get up the strength to put my arm around her. I did the corny stretching my arms out and yawning. I did it all and finally by their encore, I achieved this milestone. Thank you Robin for accepting my feeble effort and giving this shy boy (at the time) a moment of unforgettable deep pleasure and accomplishment!

While I do envy these experiences my boys will have, I also look forward to hearing about them and vicariously reliving them. Theirs will be different than mine, but the feelings will be the same, I’m sure.

Get my NEW book! Just click on the cover image below:

  • http://twitter.com/profkrg Kenna Griffin

    Isn’t it interesting that when we’re young we can’t wait to grow up, then, once we do, we wish we could re-experience all of those amazing life happenings again? Perhaps we should focus on enjoying where we are and where we were?

    Kenna

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Well put, Professor!

  • @MimiBakerMN

    I’m in this place just like you Bruce! I have to be honest and say I’m glad I have my two young boys at home still. Living through a lot of the first my daughters already went through. I guess we’ll have to go on to the generation of this to our grandkids…some day! =)

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I hope so, Mimi (grandkids, that is)!

  • ginavalley

    Great list.  Made me a bit nostalgic.  Of course I suppose we could come up with a list of “firsts” we don’t at all want to repeat, as well!  🙂
    I  think one of the amazing things about being a parent is seeing those first achieved by your kids. It seems to me that each is more special and meaningful than the one before it.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I fully agree Gina! Hope to CU at #DadChat tonight!

  • David Weber

    First, I recommend the book, “The Empty-Nest Road Trip Blues.”

    Second, many of the things that Bruce mentions are pleasant to contemplate and I would do them again as he has described if we could turn back the hands of time.

    Third, I just turned 60 two weeks ago and that has its pleasures … at least, so far it does.  That’s a topic for another post.

    Fourth, and here I am being V*E*R*Y darkly tongue-in-cheek, let’s hope your boys will not have to deal with the draft in their thirties.  But when we go to war with China in roughly 2028, young (about 50) President Chelsea Clinton may have to activate the draft.  We’ll need every able-bodied man and woman — up to about age 55…which by then will be called the “new 26” — we can muster.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Boy, do I hope you’re wrong David – very good comment! Wow, clever, ironic, dark, everything WE want from a comment!