Cat's In The Cradle.....And Time's Slipping By
Pardon me while I use this platform for a bit of self-indulgence. I suspect most of us will agree, hunting is a familial activity in many ways, so I hope you'll find some appreciation in my sharing a few comments on some family related matters, both in this editorial, as well as in the main body of this ENews.
I'll try to keep a dry eye as I share a proud father's perspective of his oldest child getting ready to fledge our nest. On Sunday, Deborah and I will travel to College Station to get our son, Tyler, settled in for his first year of college. Recent days find me with these sobering, mixed emotions that maybe only parents can completely understand and appreciate. Pride, sorrow, excitement, reflection, regret, and optimism are emotions that seem to be packaged in a weird, but perhaps a logical fashion, as I ponder our family transition.
As we all know, time has a way of slipping by so quickly, and even though we commonly hear our elders talking about enjoying our kiddos when they are young, I guess there's a tendency for us to sometimes take it for granted that we'll make time for this or that with our children. In retrospect, I can't help but question whether I should have taken more time to spend with Tyler in recent years.
However, it's awfully easy for me to quickly think about some stand-out memories, such as our turkey and antelope hunts in New Mexico, our annual family Thanksgiving pilgrimage to our deer lease, all of the exciting swim meets, and helping coach his t-ball team. Those were some great times.
And I'd be remiss if I did not brag on some of his accomplishments: Earning the rank of Eagle Scout at 15 years of age. Publishing his first 600 page book by his junior year. Qualifying for the state swim meet two years. His senior year was spectacular, with a class of 700 students, being voted Home-Coming King, voted Most Friendly, receiving the Holland Award on the swim team, and earning Academic All-American in swimming. I'm also proud of his mission work he did this summer through our church in Joplin, MO. Tyler will be attending Texas A&M University majoring in Biomedical Sciences. Enough bragging.
How lucky we all are to be blessed with young people who inspire us and make us proud. These products of life give us purpose and motivation. Our children are the most relevant, central part of our society; we can all relate to young people. Yes, they can be frustrating at times, but so can adults.
One thing that I genuinely fear is that my grandchildren and their grandchildren will possibly not have the opportunity to enjoy the wild things and wild places like you and I have during our lifetime. I'm thankful that I've had the opportunity to introduce my children to these splendors of our natural world; some of my fondest family memories are oriented around these outdoor settings and activities.
I'm confident that Tyler will adjust well during his freshman year. His virtues developed through his Eagle will serve him well. His time afield has taught him certain responsibilities that will be meaningful, and his social interaction in sports, church functions, and other activities should provide him with the personal confidence and self-awareness for adjusting to his new environment.
I'll close with the first and last verse of Harry Chapin's timeless song, "Cats In The Cradle."
My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin' 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say "I'm gonna be like you dad
You know I'm gonna be like you"
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home son?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then.
Some people say, "You can never go back home," and though I suspect there is a touch of reality in this observation, truth is, home is not just where you hang your hat, but where you find comfort, peace, and joy. And you'll always be able to find that back here, Tyler. So, we'll look forward to you coming back home.
Proprietor, Wildlife Systems, Inc.