Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Doe Season - David Michael Kaplan

As new parents, we obsess over every little developmental stage in “the boy’s” life.

Is he on track…ahead…man, maybe he’s behind?

We are hyperaware of every single miniscule change. M and I compare notes through the day double checking to see if something we observed was deliberate or just an action by chance.

I’m not sure when we’ll stop looking for changes. I’m sure that we’ll always recognize physical changes and the changes in his “person” can evolve over his entire life. So, thinking that way…It seems as the type of parents we are, we’ll never stop looking at W and the changes taking place.

When did I start paying attention to my person? When did I become aware of the changes taking place in and to my body?

It’s hard to really peg a date. Sure, there are the physical changes, and I can remember certain changes and how I felt about them (mostly uncomfortable, as I suppose most people are) but what I’d really like to remember is when I knew that I transitioned from boy to man. I’m not interested in the physical change…more the emotional.

If I were to assign an event or a transitory occurrence, I’d say it would have to be during my first year at Norwich.

I knew before I even entered that school, that I needed to be there in order to grow. I needed to be far from home in an environment that made me extremely uncomfortable.

Through that lack of comfort, I would grow. It’s not uncommon for people to find that the best lessons learned were those when they were placed in situations of duress and they were forced to act/behave in ways that they never thought possible.

I look back sometimes at my four years there and the memories are colored just as Kaplan opens his story.

“…early morning darkness – deep and immense, covered with yesterday’s snowfall, which had frozen overnight.”

“Her father smoked a cigarette and flicked ashes into his saucer…”

Cold, frozen, snowy, tobacco perfumed mornings.

Yup – it was during those years that I became a man.

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