Phone rings. I answer.
“Guess what, Dad?” Seriph asks.
“What?” I answer.
“Guess!” He implores.
I bite; “You got a Billy Goat named Ben who has a Pet Monkey named Bibo. With wings and horns.” Seriph laughs and says “Nope.“
My regular access schedule is weekends, so I haven’t seen him since Sunday. It’s Friday and his mother is taking him to a ‘Crash-o-rama’ event in the States this weekend so I won’t get to see him for another week, which is nearly unprecedented. Our cute and awkward conversation goes on for another 5 minutes until he finally confesses that he and his mother got a “real leopard kitten” in Fergus.
“I miss you, little man,” I tell him.
Seriph is 9. He needs me. Two other children, Jack, my six-year-old son, and Lily, my six-year-old stepdaughter, need me too. As does my fiancée. They need me here at McMaster where I stepped off of the bus for my first visit into what seemed like a Monet painting – the lines transient, the construct fluid, and the subject vibrantly presented in soft focus, just out of reach.
In fact, the memories of the initial days of visitation blend into what seem like an hour or two, at least according to the film reel projecting them against the back of my eyes. Yet, there are many still-framed Polaroids that have subscribed themselves to eventually becoming stable reflections during my Golden Years (which aren’t that far away, dear Reader).
What a magnificent experience being an undergraduate at McMaster University. The prestige, the unending opportunities, the beauty of the campus, the kindness of my fellow students, and most of all, the generosity of the institution. This is the pristine and tightly wound braid of steel wires upon which we all walk as students here, forged and woven by our fine predecessors. Pushing the soapbox aside, damn it’s difficult to cross this chasm and keep your balance.
Family, work, friends, academia. These four disciplines constitute a science perhaps more complex and sensitive to change than any of those sciences we study here. It is to the methods of this particular science that I call attention. It is through the mastery of this science that we will all prevail.
Whether we are old or young, student or faculty, undergraduate, graduate or doctorate, this is a challenging time, with unique demands from each of our unknown futures. A time in our lives that can be tumultuous yet beneficial, monumental and experimental, and a fallacy or absolute truth.
What gets you jazzed? What keeps the beat? What feels real? What lights the match?
The answers to these questions tweak the lens and clarify the apparently blurry destination at the end of your tightrope.
You are taking the time to read this, which makes you vulnerable to the words on the page and their possible influence on you and your thought processes. That is why I feel it is important to be equally as vulnerable and allow you into my private world. It is necessary to toss anonymity, personal or professional, in the trash, and make life as raw and pure as possible. This demands a confessional of sorts, that the shadows that play beneath the surface do more than come up for air. They allow you to see their face. Into their eyes.
Live, learn, laugh, and love while you are here. Make connections. Stay connected. But most of all, remember there is no net.