The Best Part of My Life
Published on August 9, 2009 By Larry Kuperman In Parenting

Today is my son Jon's twenty-second birthday and I want to take the opportunity to say how proud I am of him and what he has meant to my life. This past year has been the best year of my life as I have watched him mature into an adult, an adult who I not only love, but who I truly like and even admire.

Twenty-two years and some horurs ago I was sitting in the living room of an apartment where we lived in the Bronx. I was watching the Mets game on TV. The Mets were down by one run, had the tying run on first and the winning run at the plate. Howard Johnson hit a long fly ball, for a moment it looked like it had a chance, but it fell short. At that moment my wife announced that her water had broken and it was time to go to the hospital. It was very thoughtful of Jon to have waited. (One wonders that might have happened if the game had gone into extra innings.) We grabbed the suitcase that we had packed and went downstairs to get a cab. One of our neighbors, Tony if I recall correctly, joked about our going to the hospital, we said that we in fact were en route and Tony flew into a frenzy of activity, insisting on driving us there. On the way, he kept on telling us not to be nervous. After a while I told him that I would be less nervous if he hadn't just driven past the hospital.

The labor and delivery was easy and painless....for me. Mom didn't have it quite so easy, but at last Jon came into the world. I remember looking at him and holding him and telling him that he would have a whole lifetime of having to spell his last name to look forward to.

The Hebrew meaing of Jonathan, his full name, is "gift of God." King Saul's son was named Jonathan and was noted for his courage, his generosity and his unselfishness. He is remembered for saving the life of King David when Saul would have put him to death. The Biblical Jonathan was also a mighty warrior against the Philistines, known for attacking and routing an entire garrison accompanied only by his armor-bearer. (Book of Samuel, for those so inclined.)

When Jon was only three days old, he came home from the hospiatl. Mom was wiped out, but we needed a few things from the store. I put him in a Snuggli where he was on my chest and despite the August heat, added a denim jacket as a cover. We walked to the supermarket together, with only the crown of his head showing. It was wonderful even if I looked pregnant. That began what has grown into a life-long bond.

Jon has made Dean's list at college in each of his first terms. It has not been easy for Jon, school hasn't always been challenging enough to hold his attention. But he has always picked himself up and gone on, a quality to be admired.

I have been lucky enough to have been invited to see him play bass and guitar in two bands and see him play acoustic and sing. I am very grateful to have been allowed to share the experience. In fact, just before his first gig, I called him on cell phone to tell him that I couldn't make it to wish him luck. It was not until later that I found out he was already on stage and was just about to start playing when he called. He answered the phone anyway to everyone's great amusement.

But it is not just what he has done in his young life, it is who he is. He is good and kind and generous, a real mensch. He has a real way with people, especially kids. He has been and continues to be a real role model for his younger sister. (My daughter Lauren, who was thoughtful enough to email me from London, where she is vacationing with her mom, en route to Spain, yes Spain. Family joke.)

I have been very lucky in my life. I have a satisfying career, I love the teaching I am able to do as an addition. But there is no question that the best part of my life has been as a father.

To all the young dads out there, let me offer this advice. It is sometimes hard work and sometimes we just wish for some time of our own. But never miss a chance to be with your kids for these are the best days of our lives.

Happy birthday, Jon, and thank you for all that yu have given me.

on Aug 09, 2009

Make that "all that YOU have given me." I was getting misty-eyed toward the end.

on Aug 10, 2009

awwwh what a nice tribute to your son.  I too have a son with an August birthdate.  He will be 27 years old and is the eldest of three boys so I think I know what you're going through here. 

We need more fathers like you who take such an interest in their sons so they can grow up morally strong with integrity bringing honor to their family name. 

Now you can sit back and wait for the granchildren.  We have been blessed with two small grandsons to add to our three sons and another on the way!  Life is good. 

on Aug 10, 2009

Thanks for the thoughts. That may be the nicest thing that anyone has ever said about me. I can't seem to find a blushing smiley, but the thought is there.


I think that I can wait for grandchildren.



on Aug 11, 2009