By Craig Hastings
Just a few hours ago I took my son Payton to the Secretary of State’s Office here in Tuscola in order for him to get his driver’s license. I told you last week about how many hours above and beyond the required 50 hours he has driven already with either his mother or me. Today I wonder what direction our relationship will take from here. Will I see him less now, will I see him a little bit more because now he can just jump in his car and drive to my house whenever he chooses? Because he now has the key to life’s mobility will he be a no show unless he needs something from me? I really don’t like not knowing. My sons and I have spent as much time together as brothers as we have father and sons over the last 16 years.
I think I’m telling you more about what’s going on inside my head tonight than I am relating some event in my life or my thoughts about how this world has gone mad. (Politics). I’ve complained to you and to Payton in good humor about how I’ve dreaded the hour at a time drives I have been doing with him. Not because of the drive, but because of the music I’m forced to endure over those 60 minutes. Payton gets in the car and without a moments hedge he hits a couple of buttons on his phone, and we are Ford Motor Company Synced from his phone to the radio.
Loaded in that phone are his long list of songs I’ve never heard any of in my life nor the people that sing any of them. I complain to him that there really isn’t any singing going on, no just a bunch of guys talking some random crap about guns, drugs, women, fast cars, and enjoying the best life has to offer as instrumental music plays in the background. But now that me riding shotgun is over I’ve come to realize that maybe there has been some good come from me enduring a bunch of music played to loud. I really don’t care for 99 percent of those songs, but they have left a lasting impression on the place in my brain that tends to these things.
A few weeks ago I decided I would listen more carefully to his songs and maybe just maybe pick a couple of those songs and store them to remind me of this time in our lives together. So I bought two of them from iTunes. I buy music none of you would understand why I do and I burn them to CDs for me to listen to while spending five days a week, eight hours a day driving a car. I’ve told you before how my life is catalogued through the music I’ve listened to throughout my years. Songs and smells trigger my brain to recall memories from my past. Why? I have no clue but this has always been my path back. Not even pictures do it for me like songs and smells do.
So tonight I have recorded two of Payton’s songs to one of my 18 play lists of music I have stored on my iTunes account. I’ll listen to them for the rest of my time and when I do I will remember Payton and our time together driving just before he turned 16. Today I also discovered probably the finest advantage of smart phones. I sent Payton a text a week ago teasing him about “Just one more week.” That started a brief back-and-forth, father-to-son emotional moment via test messages. I’ll keep those exchanges for as long as I live. For me these text exchanges will forever hold many more memories for me than any photograph I could ever take of him and me together. So today starts a whole new chapter in my life and one in his he has no idea how life changing it will become. All I can hope for now is that he will remember a little bit of how it used to be once in awhile. I didn’t share seat time with my father, because it wasn’t required back in 1973. Oh well…I still have Lukas under 16 years old, so he will remain my captive audience for two more years anyway.