When Jesse was little, he would toddle into our room while we were getting ready in the morning, somehow always choosing the time when Jim was sitting on the edge of the bed putting on his socks. Jesse would sleepily climb up into Jim’s lap, face him, lay against his chest for a while, and and just snuggle for a bit. Then one day during this morning ritual Jesse started pushing against him, trying to make him recline back onto the bed. Jim would resist, of course, trying to stay upright because he was getting ready for work and didn’t want to get his clothes messed up. Somehow this turned into a regular contest amidst much laughter, and the older and bigger Jesse got, the harder it was for Jim to keep from getting pushed back. Finally the day came when Jesse joyfully won.
There is something about sons that makes them want to triumph against their fathers. Not in a defiant or disrespectful way, usually. Normally it is all very good-natured. Running races, shooting baskets, playing games, “wrestling” — Jim didn’t “let” them win except when they were little, so besting Dad in any contest was a thrill. Getting taller than Mom was sweet, but getting taller than Dad, well, that was an accomplishment
In the most recent manifestation of this father-vs.-son contest, Jim was trying to get Spresso, Jason’s little dog, to follow him up the stairs. Jason wanted to show that Spresso knew his master’s voice by calling for him. Spresso was confused for a moment, but then went to Jason. They repeated all of this a few times over, with Jason exulting every time Spresso came to him instead of his dad. Jim finally came up the stairs where I was puttering in the kitchen. While Jason continued his victory gloating, Jim didn’t say anything, but opened the refrigerator door and looked inside with his head down for several minutes. I thought perhaps things had gone too far this time, perhaps his feeling were hurt, perhaps he was frustrated that he didn’t get to do whatever it was he was going to do with the dog.
Then I heard Jim say, “I know how to win this one.”
And he got out a piece of lunch meat with which to entice the dog.
Fathers don’t give up easily. 🙂