I turn 42 years old today.
Don’t worry. I’m not looking to buy a Corvette, splurge on a Tommy Bahama wardrobe or hook up with an obscure Brazilian model.
If I were a professional baseball player, color commentary guys would mention my age before each bat as if every game could be my last.
In many ways I’m not where I thought I would be at this point in my life. To say I’ve stumbled into a career in technology would be kind. I got into tech because of the money and I’ve stayed for the money. Yet it’s the money which makes it difficult to leave.
I admire people who put their heart and soul into their job, placing it above everything else. I’ve seen these employees at every company I’ve worked for. Work and life are one and the same.
Actually, I don’t admire them.
What I admire are people who found their passion in life and went after it regardless of pay or glory. I admire people like my father who worked as a teacher for 32 years because that was his passion. He’s a natural leader whom students wanted to be around. One can’t fake that.
He didn’t do it for the overtime because there wasn’t any. Nor were there annual awards waiting to be bestowed upon him. Yet he had a lasting influence for good over hundreds if not thousands of students who walked the halls and ran around the bases.
That’s what I admire, and that’s what I was thinking about this morning as I stared at the ceiling from my bed. Before I could head downstairs to the shower, Kim plopped Kai next to me and ran off.
I’m 39 years older than Kai. I hope to be around when he’s my age. I want to see how he turns out. I wonder what he’ll think about his father when he’s my age? Will he be as proud of me as I am of my father?
But for now, he’s giving me that “don’t touch my bottle” look. I love his floppy blonde hair that strangers and family tell us is too long ensuring it will only grow longer. Kai is probably our last child. It feels strange to write that.
Finally, he finished his bottle. He inched closer to me. I could feel his cold feet rub against my legs. I remained still because he’ll seldom lay next to me for more than 15 seconds. But this morning was different. He stopped only when he couldn’t move any closer. Just as I thought, “no way will this last” he rubbed his cheek against my chin until it tickled too much and a giggle escaped.
I went back to staring at the ceiling with a smile on my face. A few minutes passed and I assumed Kai had fallen asleep. I watched as his chest took in one deep breath after another.
His feet were no longer cold.
Yet when I turned to look at his face, I could see he was staring at the ceiling just like his father.
I’m going to pretend he gave me an early birthday present.