I love this picture, taken when the family was at the park two winters ago, when we were gathered to send our soldier in N. Carolina (Tommy and Matt’s brother, Chris) a family photo. I ended up making a calendar of several images. But now, eighteen months later, as the mercury dips below 80 F for the first time in in the last week of June, it is hard to recall that anyone owned a jacket in San Diego.
Tonight, Tommy dropped by the house with a fresh, bright red sunburn to say hello. For a family who spend our working hours indoors, a sunburn is a badge that our sons wear proudly during summer. It was a short visit; it was dusk (at 8 PM) and he and a friend were just stopping by. Dexter, of course, was thrilled that he did, and it was a treat that he got a walk – a second walk of the evening as only dog. Comet, was a little disappointed that he was not invited. In the seven months that Comet has been part of the family, most of my dog-walks are taken together. Alas, Dexter doesn’t get a lot of “special” time.
I am grateful that the boys routinely check in with their mother, with little visits, phone calls, or texting. As the ‘adopted’ parent in this family, it also fires me up when one of the boys calls or comes over to the house to see me. But I try to play it cool. As an Empty Nest dad, I hope that these young men are doing well, yet willing, at a moment’s notice, to drop whatever I am doing, to hang out with them. I was grateful that it was dusk, and the light inside was dim at the time; I was a little embarrassed that I had not brushed Comet or Dexter today, and I was nonchalant as I used the toe of my boot to move the wisps of black dog hair in the hallway out of the light cast by the porch lit in the open front door.
Next time I hope Tommy can stay longer. But I am looking forward to seeing Matt tomorrow. I’ll have some snacks and a cold drink ready; I want to make the most of the visit. With his work and social schedule, Matt usually only has an hour.