Our second oldest daughter, Catherine, will be spending next year studying in Korea (which reminds me that I need to confirm which side of the Mason Dixon Line she’ll be on, but I’m pretty sure that she’ll be in South Korea). Perhaps jumping on the Korean bandwagon, Timothy is taking a page from the North Korean supreme leader, Kim Jong Un.
In between the reports of North Korea’s nuclear tests, you hear stories of power plays in the North Korean government, in which government officials once in favor with the leader suddenly disappear or become persona non grata. This lack of subtlety seems to suit young TRBL.
For a long time, Timothy was focused more on me (his dad), and was not always as generous to others in our household.
While I soaked up the attention, I also counseled the boy that this was not a wise choice, since his mother is a great person and spends a whole lot more time tolerating his shenanigans than I do, and so he’d better be nicer to her.
Laura was far more patient with his crabby treatment than I would have been, possibly sensing that her time was coming.
And now it’s here.
In a move that would make the North Korean supreme leader proud, TRBL is pushing me out in order to elevate his mom and his sisters.
If I am in his room at bedtime, he’ll now point to me and then point to the door, in an effort to communicate that only those in the inner circle get to read to the big cheese.
I can deal with this status change for now, but I’m going to get nervous if Timothy starts airbrushing me out of family photos.
Our family is displaying good versatility these days.
On a recent Saturday, we attended Timothy’s toddler music class, a 5 year old’s birthday party, went to Catherine’s senior prom pictures and then Laura and I attended the English Beat concert.
When a good friend offered me a beer at his daughter’s high school graduation party last weekend, I politely declined, explaining ‘Martin, while you’ll be going to more grad parties this afternoon, I’ll be on my way to a 3 year old’s bubble-themed birthday party.’
The old saying goes that ‘Silence is Golden’, but I would dispute that when it comes to a four year old boy.
Timothy was playing in his room, and as is often the case, his door was closed and I could hear him playing loudly with books, toy cars and stuffed animals.
But then suddenly I didn’t hear anything.
After a few minutes of blissful peace and quiet, I decided to make sure he was okay. As I walked toward his room, I noticed something white on the floor of the bathroom, and I realized that Timothy must have found the box of Arm and Hammer baking soda – used to help his skin during baths – and that he might be using his new found toy in his room.
I quickly opened his door and was confronted with a winter wonderland. Our little performance artist had decorated his room in baking soda, with white piles of powder everywhere from his bed to his carpet to his stuffed animals. A parenting expert might have counseled me to ‘enjoy it and be present in the moment’ and ‘join my child in play’. But I just got crabby and quickly cleaned it up, although I was glad that our redheaded Rembrandt’s medium was baking soda and not oil colors.
On this warm Father’s Day, I’m very grateful for my Dad.
I’ve written before about how my Dad has and continues to influence me, with his wisdom, hard work, career success, focus on ethics and his strong faith.
But I think most today about just what a good person he is.
He has helped so many people and been there for family and friends in need.
He maintains his old friendships, but no one makes new friends more easily than my Dad. The first time he meets people, he’ll spend a half hour asking them all about themselves, and he shows such a genuine interest in each person that a friend of his jokes, ‘everyone thinks that they’re Tom Lee’s best friend’.
In a world where technology can give us more ‘connections’ than ever but less real personal interactions, my Dad is old school.
He wants to look you in the eye and get to know you.
No wonder people love him so much.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I love you.