Cats in the Cradle

Last Sunday was daughter number 2’s 14th birthday and we had a really good afternoon together. We went over to see my Mum first and then to the pictures and saw the Simpsons Movie. I guess the best thing to say about that is that the opening line says something like – “You sucker, fancy paying for something you get free on TV.” Still she liked it and that means I liked it too.

Today was son number 2’s 22nd birthday. I rang him last night and asked him whether he would like to go to the footy today which he declined because he was sick of watching our team get belted this year. Wise move as it turned out because it is halftime in the match as I write this and we are a little over five goals down on our way to another loss. I asked him what he would like as a present and he said he didn’t really know so we agreed to meet at the shopping centre this afternoon so that I could buy him something. I ended up getting him Series 5 of the Family Guy, matthew McConaughey’s new DVD “We are Marshall”, and the Mark Wahlberg movie “The Shooter”.

I asked if he wanted to have some lunch but he said that he wasn’t hungry having not long gotten out of bed; so I then asked if he wanted to have a coffee somewhere and he said “Not really.” So we chatted for a while in the car park and then off he went. I did notice that he was on his phone in his car as we drove up the highway and he turned off before home so I assume he went off to visit a mate.

It felt like a real “Cats in the Cradle” moment and saddened me a little. Then I thought about my relationship with my Dad and it may not really have been any different. I should have made a point of taking him out somewhere for his birthday when he was alive, or of making attempts to see him more often than I did. I always felt that we had little in common and that may well have been the case but I regret not trying to do more things with him.

Now my son isn’t always like this with me – we do go out to the pictures occasionally, or for a feed or to the footy, but today I felt a bit sad that he obviously didn’t really want to spend any time with me. I don’t think he was even very interested in the present, that he actually only turned up out of obligation to me and not because he was really all that excited to see me on his birthday. He’s planning to head off to Queensland in a few weeks because there are better work prospects up there and that is probably a good thing, but will mean I see less of him than I do now.

Of my four children he was the one whose birth I missed. My wife went into labour six weeks early and we spent a long sleepless night at the hospital whilst the doctors tried to discourage the birth. I was sent home around 10am in the morning and at about 5pm I got an urgent call saying to get into the hospital quickly. I arrived 5 minutes after he was born and being prem he was placed straight into a humidicrib so I didn’t even get to hold him until he was a day old. Seems like yesterday to me but the reality is that he is now a young man finding his own way and it is normal for a kid to want to spend less time with his parents and more with his mates and girlfriends.

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me that he grown up just like me. My boy was just like me.”



  1. JaniceNW said,

    August 25, 2007 at 7:25 am

    I miss Harry Chapin. I actually got to see him in concert several times in my very early teens. He put on one heck of a show! Sigh. So sad when he died in that plane crash leaving a wife and six kids.

    I understand how you feel. They would certainly rather spend their birthdays with friendsrather than me at 16 and almost 19. I’m just the money mom. As in gimme some money mom.

    Hugs. Oh, a humidicrib is called an isolette here. Interesting difference in words.

  2. Loz said,

    August 25, 2007 at 7:38 am

    I am a truly miserable person sometimes πŸ™‚ I am proud of all my kids just wish that my relationship with them will be better than mine was with my Dad.

  3. Seiche said,

    August 25, 2007 at 8:40 am

    I can definitely relate to this. Tonight was the last night my twin boys are in town before heading off to their respective institutions of higher learning. I was hoping for a guy’s night out, but apparently their idea of guy’s night out no longer includes me. They are off with their friends, for one last night of high school shenanigans. I guess I’ll get my time in the car.

    Good looking kid you’ve got there.

    And I feel your pain with a losing team and all (soccer?). The NFL is kicking off it’s season here, and being a diehard Cleveland Browns fan… I see nothing but dissappointment and despair…

  4. Loz said,

    August 25, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Seiche – maybe one day they’ll come back to us.

    It’s actually Australian Rules Football and we barrack for Carlton. It’s a bad situation at the moment because there is one game left in the season next week and if we lose we will qualify for pick number 1 and 3 in the draft. If we win it will be pick 3. It’s a bad situation when supporters are hoping their club will lose.

  5. Gypsy said,

    August 25, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    We all have to let our kids find their way. My twins are only 13 but I’m sure it will feel like a blink of an eye and they will be off with their friends, not wanting to be seen with Mum anymore.

    Sorry about Carlton Loz. My hubby barracks for them too and has had to endure many disappointments. I barrack for the Crows and they have just stumbled back into the final 8 tonight after a good win. For how long, who knows. If they don’t win again next week my scarf and beanie go back into mothballs until next year.

  6. Josie Two Shoes said,

    August 25, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    A couple of beautiful kids there, Loz!! It is a strange fact of human nature that we spend the first 18 or so years of our children’s lives encouraging their independence, then when they are ready to fly from the next we feel the tug at our hearts. The roles reverse, and now we miss them instead of them missing us, they are busy with their newly aquired adult lives. Remember how it was? I think that both you and Seiche will see your sons return to you in closer form in a few more years time. One of the best ways of ensuring that is email – send a note, send one often. It doesn’t matter if they dont’ write back, believe me, they are reading them! It’s much like tucking a note in a child’s lunchbox. It says Dad (or Mom) is thinking of you today. Kids need to hear that at any age. Do you think our fathers cared so much about spending quality time with us? In my case I would say a definite no, my dad’s focus was totally on providing for the family and that’s pretty much where he felt his role and obligation ended. I think your kids are blessed because deep down the KNOW you are there for them emotionally as well, and just a call away if they need you. But stil, yes, it is a bit painful to play second fiddle to their friends – becoming an empty-next parent is a new challenge! Take heart in the fact that they are both turning out to be great people because of, AND inspite of our parenting, that’s what we most want for them!

  7. paisley said,

    August 25, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    this is remarkable,, as approx 2 days ago seiche was going thru the same type of a scenario ith his young son.. and i said this to him……
    life goes on you live you change you die… i don’t know what actually transpired with your son,, but a few years from now it will be him that changed and then what…. remember cats in the cradle by harry chapin….thats kinda like life isnt it?????…….

    and then today as i read this i thought,,, play it againn harry… as life marches on….

    excellent post loz….

  8. Blur Ting said,

    August 25, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Oh Loz, i’m sorry it turned out that way. Maybe it’s a phase. My older son behaves this way with his dad too. I believe he will turn around and realise your love for him if you continue to show your love and care for him.

  9. Random Magus said,

    August 25, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    It’s the function of that particular age… and then as you grow older and you are over wanting to spend all your time with friends then you automatically gravitate towards your family. Especially if you know they will always be there waiting for you

  10. Pen and the Sword said,

    August 26, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Wow. Just wow. Makes me think of my dad and how I wish he would act like half the father you do toward your kids. Of course I am 30 years old now, but still… it’s the idea of it. You are so cool, Loz.

  11. Loz said,

    August 26, 2007 at 6:06 am

    Gypsy – it does happen in the blink of an eye. You may like to check this post out

    Josie – thank you. I really miss the day to day contact with each of them.

    Paisley – life is circular but I guess if we have any aspirations for our kids it is that they don’t make the same mistakes as we have, and I say that knowing that they probably will just as I did.

    Blur – this one is very like me in so many ways.

    Amber – I do see other people with far better relationships with their kids than I feel I have with mine. But I am trying.

    Pen – If I have learnt one thing since my father passed it is that any fault with the relationship lay as much with me as it did with him, and as with my son yesterday, I found it easy to find things to do other than spend time with him. Something I do regret now.

  12. Shinade said,

    August 26, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Well my goodness Happy birthday to both of them…you have babies…my oldest is 36 and my baby is 33…now I feel ancient….LOL!!! Wow does your son ever favor you….lucky boy:) Congrats on a great family time…I love to see good fathers:)~Blessings of Peace my friend~Jackie

  13. Micki said,

    August 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Loz, your children are so beautiful. I can see your face in your son’s. I also try to be the parent that my own parents could not be. They wanted to do more and be more for me, at times they still do. I fear that I can’t do or be enough for my son. You are a good Dad, Loz. You have given them your whole heart and that is all any parent can give. Your son will gravitate towards his family again, especially if he has children of his own.

  14. Loz said,

    August 27, 2007 at 6:47 am

    Thanks for the visit and comment Shinade – I also have another boy who is 23 and a daughter 18.

    Micki – I am sure that most parents at times feel like they are failures or superfluous to their childrens lives. But I truly hope there are other times when we are indispensable.

  15. .. Dallas Meow >^^< said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:26 am

    sigh, so true, in the blink of an eye.

  16. .. Dallas Meow &gt;^^&lt; said,

    August 29, 2007 at 2:26 am

    sigh, so true, in the blink of an eye.

  17. Robert said,

    August 31, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I don’t have any kids of my own, yet at least, but can certainly relate through my relationship with my dad. We live about 40 minutes from each other and hardly get together at all. It sounds like you a far more dynamic relationship with your son than I have with my father. It’s true, I don’t feel like we have much in common and at this point in my life it just feels like that sort of thing has past, having a close relationship that is. But I hear what you’ve said about wishing you had more of a relationship with your dad before he passed. I appreciate your sharing.

  18. Loz said,

    September 1, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Dallas – it certainly is.

    Robert – thanks for dropping in and commenting and make some time for your Dad you won’t die wondering then πŸ™‚

  19. Sueblimely said,

    September 4, 2007 at 2:49 am

    I mentioned Harry Chapin on my blog a little while ago and no one knew who he was – so it is good to see that there are still fans around.

    I am in a Cats in the Cradle situation with my two older children – one who is about to be posted to some remote place in Australia and the other who lives at home but is kept busy by study, work and friends. Its part of the natural life cycle really.

    I have a disabled son, 17, who will be with me for as long as I am able look after him (plus more judging by the availability of facilities in Australia). When the kids were all young and I sometimes craved a little freedom this thought would concern me. Now they are older, I thank goodness that I will always have my youngest child with me.

  20. Loz said,

    September 4, 2007 at 3:23 am

    Hi and welcome Sublimely – I take it you too are an Aussie blogger?

    I think those of us who do know Harry Chapin may well be of a certain age πŸ™‚

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