It was my dad who was responsible for teaching me how a boy should wear his pants, his shirt, and his neck tie. Dad showed me how to tie a knot and make tie necktie the right length. Not too short and not too long. I can’t even explain to you the sense of accomplishment that a man feels when he gets its right. I remember cutting his hair myself. I was glad when those days were over and I’m sure he was too. I’m really not sure who told fathers that they were suppose to cut their son’s hair? Who told us that along with being a father is the innate ability to be skilled with clippers? If it were true, I killed the myth. Off to the barber he went but at least I took him.
The barbershop experience is a bit too much for virgin ears so I opted out to go by Denise’s crib. Her son and Angelo played together so it made for a good mix for me, babysitter and barber. It also helped that she fed him and he spent a night several times. There are special days in a Father/ Son relationship that are just too special to miss, if you ask me.
I remember about three years ago, it was his first prom and first tuxedo. This is another monumental moment in the Father/Son relationship. It ranks right up there with everything from,”Bring my car back in one piece, don’t be speeding,” to “We need to talk about the birds and the bees.” All of which have already been violated and experienced by the time we discuss them. Have you had sex already? What’s the fastest you have have driven a car? These are questions that fathers ask but never really desire to have or want the true answer. We just say this stuff.
Opposite of popular belief, Fathers can shoe shop, and do some clothes shopping. Color coordinating and sizes are areas some of us tend to struggle in. You can rest assure that what ever we come home with, it won’t be girly or pastel, but it won’t be too big either. It is going to fit right. They might only get one wear out it but whose counting?
If I close my eyes, I can remember his senior year and it’s prom time. We are in the living room and we are getting him dressed for the prom. He is wearing white and another color that matches the lovely lady that will be his date tonight. There is something about the way a crisp white tuxedo feels to a man. I remember him getting sized for it and bringing it home. A little different than the average fella prepping for the festivities, Angelo has happily finished a round of chemotherapy and has been cleared by the doctors to proceed with the night. He has a port in his chest but that does not matter much. His heart is pumping excitement and he is about to turn up. What truly matters is that he is looking sharp with keys to the BMW in is hand. It is true, The mind does what the mind wants to do. Angelo has made up his mind that he was going come hell or high water. I loved the look on his face when he went to the mirror to check himself out. Priceless was the look that described his demeanor as he checked himself out in the mirror. “Mission accomplished,” I said to myself. As I reflect, The funny part about his prom night was, he pulled off in my car with a smile on his face, headed to pick up his date. When the prom pictures surfaced on cell phones, he no longer was the well groomed young man in the tux that drove off smiling. The pictures revealed images that looks more a Chippendales male dance review. I still have no clue who gave the ok to
Ditch the tuxedo shirts and just go bare chest and bow ties. His whole crew did it. All he said was, “Dad, It was the greatest night of my life.” I am grateful that I had a chance to dress him.
A year or so ago, Angelo agreed to go through with the Stem cell transplant, in an attempt to rid himself of cancer. It would require a two months stay in isolation with no outside world contact. He could not leave the floor or smell fresh air for at least two months. It came to our surprise, that Angelo successfully completed his treatment in half of the time expected. His release date was fast approaching and we wanted to prepare for his walk out. I wanted him to leave the hospital in style, so I went shopping for him. I went to my favorite Men’s store to hook him up with new threads. When he saw the outfit I picked, he smiled with overwhelming joy. That day he left the hospital looking and feeling Xzrabsolutely amazing. He walked out of that place clean as a whistle.
Before leaving, he allowed the hospital to record his farewell speech and he was in rare form. Amazing how a nice outfit can change your whole attitude and outlook on life. When we go to the car, he had a moment. He said, “I’ve been cooped up in the hospital for a month, and people don’t have any idea how good it feels to breath fresh air.” I am grateful I had a chance to dress him.
Right out of Intensive Care, we recognized he needed clothes because he had none. We took a trip to Michigan city to the Ralph Lauren Polo shop that he loves to shop at. He purchased the outfits that he wanted and we were gone. His illness forced him back into the hospital without a chance to rock his new stuff. It was a sad pill we would have to swallow. He passed on December 10th. Shortly after he departed this world, they were going to transport his body back home. I remembered that I had brought along with me, his new clothes that he never got a chance to wear. I said, “Dress him in his Polo gear.” I remember when he picked the shirt out. It called his name from across the store and he willingly answered. On the day he departed, he got to wear his new stuff. I was honored, I had the chance to dress him.
The other day, it dawned on me, I have to go shopping for him. This trip to the store would be different. This time I am charged to choose the outfit that he will be buried in. Even though he is with the Lord, I still have to pick the suit that the world would see him in for the last time. As Steve the manager chose accessories to match the blue velvet sports coat that I knew he would love, I said to myself, “This is so screwed up!!” I had a moment and it wasn’t good. My heart was heavy and my eyes were filled with tears. I chose the suit that I believed that when he put it on, he would smile. Well, we have two more days left before his funeral and I am nervous. On that day, I hope he gives me that big smile of approval from heaven. It will be the final that I got to dress my boy.
As a Father, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do!! Pray for me!!