by Stephen Vernon
My son had just been born. If you recall my previous post about my birth experience, I held him close while L was being tended to, and we had a nice moment getting to know each other. Placing myself back in that, (trust me on this expecting fathers), very surreal moment, I try to identify what it felt like to meet my new child after nine months of anticipation. I had so many questions for the little boy whose warm feet and hands I had once felt kicking inside L. Could you hear us reading to you at night? What is your favorite book? Remember when your mom and I went to Quebec City? Wasn’t that an awesome trip? It doesn’t take you long to realize that you could ask all the questions in the world and you’ll still only be answered by the cutest damn eyes you’ve ever seen...and that doesn’t really bother me one bit. There was however, one question that to this day continues to give me pause. Little man, “What are you going to be when you grow up?”. It is exciting to think about. What will my son be when he grows up? My thoughts on this subject fill quicker than my son’s hamper piles up with soiled cloths. I hardly have time to process everything that comes to mind and my 29 years on this earth have allowed me to plan the ultimate life for my son. Here is a little taste of what my son’s life will be like if daddy gets everything he wants...ahem, if Mason gets what he wants.
Well of course he will be a professional soccer player. I mean, I didn’t get the opportunity to play professionally but the older I got the better I was. I think back now and view my soccer “career” as more of a choice. “Yeah, I totally could have gone pro, but I wanted to focus on my education,” I tell myself now. I watch professional soccer all the time now and envision myself sliding, heading, and becoming the next great super striker. “My time is past, but I totally could have done it,” I mumble watching Lionel Messi shred through 5 defenders and power a shot the to the upper 90. But wait! My son can still be a pro one day. Hey Mason, how does making millions of dollars a year sound, while traveling the world and playing the greatest game on earth? Oh yeah, he’ll totally go for that. Okay, I’ll help Mason become a professional soccer player; this should be easy.
|Is it Mason or Messi? I can't tell...|
On second thought, becoming a professional soccer player isn’t what it used to be for an American. Not that it was ever an easy task, but with the advancement of MLS and exposure of Americans to the global game, competition is fierce. Soccer in America has arrived and it takes an extreme amount of talent and a lot of lady luck on your side to make it. Of course Mason could do it, but having a backup plan never hurts. Good thing I know just the sport to pursue: Cycling! Mason could easily become a cycling legend. Daddy loves road biking, so of course Mason will specialize in dropping fools on the road. “Big Ring” Vernon they would call him! Cycling is still a niche sport reserved for twenty somethings and older who are trying to fill the void left by a team sport after college. Anyone that actually rides a bike aggressively when they are young has a real shot of winning the Tour De France. Cycling it is then!
|Here is Mason in the 2035 Tour De France getting cheered on by a rabid cycling fan|
Thinking more deeply about becoming a professional athlete, it dawns on me that Mason needs to be a more well-rounded individual. “Mason” I call to him, “In addition to becoming a soccer player and a road biking bad-A, you might want to consider playing an instrument to round things out a bit.” This again, makes total sense. At the tender age of 12 I joined the marching band. For some magical reason, I chose the humble sound of the clarinet as my instrument because I knew that my dad used to play it. Unfortunately, my career as a clarinetist was short-lived when my conductor announced in front of the entire school that I was the only male clarinetist to make all-state. My days of never being bullied were numbered, and when my family moved to another town, the clarinet was never unpacked. With this knowledge, I would never let Mason make the same mistake. No! He will play an instrument that is cool; something he can play for the rest of his life; something that gets him chicks. I’m envisioning a guitar, drums, or the piano will do the trick. If we start lessons now he will be a one-man band riding his bike in soccer cleats in no time. We are off to a good start, Mason!
Suddenly an afterthought hits me: Mason’s skills and abilities are strongly leaning towards his dads interests. He’ll need a skill that pleases his mother, too. After all, we can’t have him going through life not being able to relate to his mom. Since Mom is an artist, what better way to round out the perfect little man than with a brush and palette. My “brush” with art doesn’t go as deep as Mom's, but I could get into Mason sketching in a journal, “finding” himself staring into a Wyeth, or maybe even rocking a fro, painting “happy trees” like the great Bob Ross. Well, on second thought, maybe something a little more contemporary than Ross. Mom would love it, and I can picture family vacations to exotic destinations for some plein air painting sessions. What a proud dad I could be to fill my home with my sons art!
|Painting Plein Air with Mason would be cool with me|
So there we have it. I can picture Mason in the perfect life he has (I’ve) carved for himself (myself) playing soccer in Europe in the winter, cycling in the summer (again in Europe...what’s with all the Europe?) serenading some cutie with his “cool” instrument and admiring his artistic creation as someone bids it up at a Sotheby’s auction. Ahhh... dreaming big. Every parent loves to think about what their children will be and has every right to do so. But as every parent knows, despite all our day dreaming, we know exactly what our children will be when they grow up. They’ll be whatever they damned well want to be, and truthfully, I love that idea more than any idea I’ll have for Mason. I realize my role will be to gently nurture his direction and unconditionally support whatever he chooses to do (well, there are limits Mason), and I can’t wait to see the man he will become. I’ll support him of course, as long as he takes time out of his busy schedule to go surfing with his dad every now and again.