Fire tricks

I'm feeling better. The most exciting day of any trip is the night before: you read articles on where to stay, what to expect. Although I've been to New York numerous times, this would be my first time to tag along my wife and son, and I know it's going to be a trip of a lifetime.

So here I am, reading an article from Guernica about that distinct intimacy fathers and sons share that goes out the window as soon as the son becomes aware or conscious of how father-son relationships actually work:

With my son, I say I will miss the kissing when it ends, but that may not be true. I know it’s the right and sentimental thing for fathers of my generation, our era, to say. But it’s also the fearful thing to say, like, “They grow up so fast,” which only means that I’m getting older, more quickly it seems.

I was talking to my wife about how bittersweet fatherhood is: for my son, I'm technically a second-rate citizen when my wife's around--i.e., all the time--and a third-rate citizen when we're with relatives who spoil and shower my son with praises. Third-rate citizens are not afforded with any kind of intimacy; in his book, I'm technically a nobody. Rarely do I become a first-rate citizen, save for those days when I work from home, when I get to fetch him from school, when I allow him to bike outside for thirty minutes, when the two of us spend time in a coffee shop, where his attention is all mine.

I think this rings true when I was younger, too: my mother comes first even after she left for the States, when I was a mere ten year-old. My father filled in the gap tentatively, and it was only when I started my life in college when I finally understood him. This was a gradual realization, and I owe it up to our similarities: aside from the physical resemblances (that receding hairline!) he was (and probably is) a frustrated writer, according to my mom - which explains his implicit acts of dissuading me to write. We also share similar behaviors and attitudes in life: for one, we're essentially cheapskates that would rather scrimp to give way to our vices and luxuries. (We even call these our "one-time, big-time" purchases.)

For some reason it takes a lot of time for a son to find a way to love his father: it almost always starts with denial, or in some cases, rejection. Now that I'm a father, I hate to say that it pains me to see my childhood through my father's lenses - it's like forcing myself to soak my face in a pensieve. The big question: is there a way to make things right, or make up for the lost time?