On a recent trip to the art museum, my son asked me to lift him up so that he could see something. I consider myself fairly strong, so I thought I’d have no problem hoisting his eighty pound frame a few inches off the floor. I hate to admit it, but I could not budge my not-so-little buddy! This got me thinking about how, not so long ago, I carried him everywhere. First, I cradled him in my arms as he lay snugly swaddled in his blanket. Once he was toddling, I would transport him from place to place, his hands linked behind my neck and legs wrapped around my waist. I looked up the word “carry” in Webster’s New World Dictionary. The first and second definitions (to hold or support while moving and to take from one place to another) adequately describe how we typically “carry” our children in those first years of their lives. My inability to lift Junior signifies that my role as his transporter in the physical sense has expired. (He is eleven years old and just a few inches shorter than me. Pretty soon, he may be able to carry me!)
It appears that I must now use the third and fourth definitions of the word carry, as they more adequately describe how to “transport” a boy who has reached tween-hood. (To hold, and direct the motion of and to cause to go; lead or impel.) My role as my son’s “carrier” is now defined as the path I choose to lead him down-what morals and values I consider important to instill in him. These lessons will enable him to become a loving, compassionate, generous, productive member of the human race.
Years ago, when Junior was just an infant, I worked diligently on filling out the pages of his baby book. There was a page just for dads to jot down their thoughts. One of the things that my husband wrote was, “I want you to become a Mensch.” (For anyone not familiar with the term Mensch, it is a Yiddish word that means “a person of integrity and honor.”) Junior’s dad has missed out on much of his upbringing, however, I hope that he is watching and agrees that I am working tirelessly at carrying his son into “Mensch-hood!”