Another Generation

April 28th, 2019

Weston is four months old. Hans has plans for him. Big plans.

I guess that is normal for a new father. I probably had big plans for Hans thirty-two years ago. I just don’t remember what they were.

There is the temptation to look at a baby, and see all possible futures in that child. I suspect that is one of the things that we find attractive in an infant. There is a tendency to view a baby as a tabula rasa, a clean slate, a place where we can write down all of our hopes and dreams. That is a mistake. I know this from experience.

What are Hans’ plans for his little boy? Well, I don’t think that even Hans knows exactly. The details are kind of fuzzy. However, I can give you hints from the way that Weston’s bedroom is decorated. For instance, there is sign on his wall that says, “Ducks, trucks, and eight point bucks: that’s what little boys are made of.” Another picture has written on it, “Vegetarian -noun- an old Indian word for ‘bad hunter’.” There is also a stuffed bear’s head on Weston’s bedroom wall. It’s not a real bear’s head. It’s like the head of a teddy bear, but it looks like something that Weston had hunted and then hung up to display.

You get the idea?

I have made no comment on all of this, mostly because it might not have the desired effect. I am almost certain that whatever dreams Hans has for Weston’s future will not come to fruition, at least not in a way that Hans can imagine.

I base my prediction on past experience, which may or may not have any bearing on the situation. The fact is that Hans tried to do the opposite of most everything that I had intended for him. The biggest deviation from the plan came when Hans joined the Army and went to war in Iraq. He knew that Karin and I did not want him to join the military. He knew that we would be angry and hurt. He also knew that we would forgive him, and back him up in his decision.

At one point, years after he fought in Iraq, I spoke with Hans about his choice. I told him how Mom and I felt about it. He smiled a crooked smile and said,

“Yeah, that was kind of a big ‘fuck you’, wasn’t it.”


Will Weston follow Hans’ lead? That depends on how you look at it. Will Weston just be a miniature Hans? I doubt it. Weston will do his own thing. Will Weston be as independent and impulsive as Hans? Yes, I believe that may happen.

One advantage of growing old is that a person can gain some perspective. Some of the patterns in life become more obvious. In many ways Hans is different from me. People often tell me that, and it’s true in a superficial sort of way. I try to look a bit deeper.

Hans is politically my opposite. So what. People key on that sort of thing first, but for me it is peripheral. Who cares if he likes Trump? Who cares if I don’t? What are the things that really do matter?

Now that Hans is an adult, with adult problems and adult choices, I can see some of the things that he might have learned from Karin and myself. Hans has many of my faults. He drinks too much and he pushes himself too hard. He can hold a grudge. He gets depressed and lives on the dark side quite often. On the other hand, Hans is brave and loyal and true. He works hard, and he takes pride in his work. He cares about his family more than anything else in the world. He is willing to take risks.

What will Weston be? He will inherit many of Hans’ virtues and vices. Weston will be a very interesting young man.




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