Today was visiting day up at my kids’ summer camp. I hadn’t seen my boys in three weeks. What’s three weeks? Nothing, right? But when I first laid eyes on them I couldn’t believe they already looked different. Can’t really put my finger on what it was but they looked different. Maybe a little taller. Maybe leaner and a bit more maturity in the face. Couldn’t really tell what it was, but three weeks had done something to them. The way they spoke, their voices, the intonation of their sentences, the confidence level—something about those kids had changed. Had moved along just a couple more inches on the path to manhood.
Then of course I thought about myself and my parents who I brought along. How were we aging I wondered. Did we look different to my boys in those three weeks we’d been apart. I lost weight. I was very proud of it, but they did not notice. We had lunch, went into town and then came back and jumped in the lake. We swam, we took out a sailboat and when they went to put on their orange life preserver it hit me like a ton of bricks. The tell-tale sign of their maturing that had eluded me before — under their armpits, both of them, emerging little forests of hair growth.