Dear son,

You will be 16 only two more months. You need space from me as never before. I’ve never felt serious hostility from you, but there are times when I feel the eyes of teenage judgement lasering through me, searching for anything false or failed. You can usually find something. At times I’ll be talking to you from your bedroom door and see you actually morphing into a werewolf, nearly growling at me to leave while I can. I take it in stride because we’re just playing out the eternal roles of controlling, restricting dad and desperate to get the fuck out of here kid. And it isn’t like knowing that offers us an opt-out policy from the drama, it’s compulsory, appropriate and as structured into your cells as learning to talk or walk. You are supposed to want to get the fuck out of here and if you see me as standing in your way, it’s because you are supposed to stop letting me do things for you and give up the comforts you feel when hanging around me. Those comforts could make you wander less, seeking your new life. You need to start looking for it now. I loved taking care of you when you were little, but taking care of you now, beyond what’s absolutely needed from me is a self indulgent bad habit I need to give up in your best interests. I actually don’t find it easy but life has times for ending things so new things can come along and this is one of those.

In fairness, you are almost always very nice to me and your affection shows through many times, but we never talk anymore. I miss talking to you without the sense that you are  counting the seconds being stolen from you. If I bring up an important subject that has emotions or personal stuff involved, you react like a cat suddenly recognizing the vet’s office. Embarrassed and appalled, you head for the nearest exit. I think I could still use the DAD voice and the whole “Get back here this minute” thing but that’s not how I imagined our talk. If I forced the issue you’d sit there like a coyote stuck on a barbed wire fence. You really don’t want to hear what I want to tell you. So I don’t tell you.

But I see things you need to know, and I know those things. Look, the big reason you want to get out of here is so you can walk around till you find a young lady who wants to have sex with you. That reason may be pretty clear to you already but if you thought it was the fresh air, you were mistaken. I don’t really mean the sex part, although obviously I really do. Yes, we’ll call it falling in love but we’re talking about the demands of your genes, not your beautiful soul, even though your beautiful soul is more important in the long run. I’m not talking about what you should feel, because that’s nothing but a tiny morality flag to salute. Nobody feels what they should feel, that’s why we have to be exhorted and reminded to feel it!  I’m talking about human animals like you and everyone you know.  In reality it’s more like; find some friends to hang with, get better at socializing, eventually meet some girls and practice talking to those girls until one of them likes you so hard that she wants to have sex with you.  But surrounding that superdrive to mate are a million ways to be capable or not and worthy or not. This is where your beautiful soul re-enters the picture.

Life is mostly about being with people and being a person worth knowing. Ignorance of those ways means suffering and wasted chances. You can, at least, suffer less and miss fewer chances.

Continued in How to people, part 2