Funny how time flies. G was 2 months old in this picture with his Dad, and 5 years later he lost his Dad to cancer. Five years with your dad is not enough time. In the 5 years since Daniel died, I've tried to be both mom and dad to him...dusting him off when he falls, being sympathetic, being supportive, being harsh when it was needed...it's tough to be good cop and bad cop in the same conversation....sometimes I think I have a personality disorder! ;-)
When conversations about girls or puberty have come up over the past two years, I have relied on a couple of fantastic uncles to give the man's perspective and I am thankful to have them to call on. G and I talk about everything, but there is a limit to my technical knowledge. I mean, I am a GIRL!
In the past few months as my relationship with Carl has become more serious, G has started to turn to Carl for manly advice. As a result, I've overheard or taken part in a few interesting conversations. About a month ago, G asked Carl for advice on how to talk to girls. Carl responded to G that he wasn't an expert in that area, but he'd be happy to talk to him about it anytime. G laughed at Carl, pointed to me and said "yes you are, you got my mom...." I laughed out loud, and Carl admitted to the truth in that comment. More recently, G served as a page for a state senator for a day. In that role, he was required to wear a coat and tie. I tied his tie for him (with the assistance of internet instructions), and after a day of being dressed like a little man we met Carl for dinner. During dinner Carl quietly leaned over to G, whispered something in his ear and indicated to him that he should unbutton his jacket while he was seated. It was very subtle, and if I'd not been paying attention I would have missed it completely. It was a sweet gesture and it tugged at my heart strings. Carl took the time to give G a little "man coaching", and did it in such a way as to not draw attention to it or make it seem like criticism. I loved seeing it, and G loved getting the input. He quickly unbuttoned his jacket and smiled at Carl like they shared a special secret. It was the cutest damn thing.
I try to be all things to my little guy, but clearly there will always be gaps. We are so very lucky to have a few willing men to step in when I'm at a loss, or just clearly the wrong person to talk to about an issue. Thanks to all the men in G's life who help to fill in those gaps. You guys rock!