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Every Other Friday
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My son graduated from college two years ago and found a job on the west side of town. His commute from my house to his job was over an hour one-way; he soon found a place on that side of town. It means I see him a lot less frequently, generally on Saturday or Sunday, when he comes over for dinner.

A few months after he started that job, I too, found a job on that side of town. My commute was not as long as his, only forty minutes. I would rather make the commute than abandon a community in which I have lived for over thirty years.

At the beginning of this year, my son’s lease expired and he moved. It turned out to be about five blocks from where I worked.
His company has a schedule where employees work nine hours a day with every other Friday off.  My company works five days a week. I joked that we could have lunch together on the Fridays he had off.  He took me up on it.  

For the last few months he comes by at lunchtime on every other Friday and we do lunch. Sometimes he pays – to show he can, and that he is now an adult.  Sometimes I pay – because I am still dad, and he is still my son. We chat over food.

Value These Meetings

What is surprising is how much the two of us value these meetings, even after a short time. He came to lunch a time or two when he was working overtime on Fridays, because he did not want to skip it. I have moved business trips and changed vacation days so I will be in town at work on that every other Friday. One lunch-Friday, was a company holiday for me and we were both disappointed.

The conversation is not earth shattering. We often talk about work. He tells me what is going on where he works. I tell him about my experiences. Sometimes he asks me for advice. He outlines a problem. I offer suggestions, providing a perspective gained over my years of experience.

We meet as equals. I may be his father, but he is now a young professional, doing well in his field.

That is the key to why we both enjoy our lunch together. Parenting is hard, often thankless. Yet there is no greater reward than seeing your children go off and achieve success. It is a sign you have done something right. For a child, showing your parents, especially your father, that you are achieving something is equally satisfying. It, too, is a sign of doing something right.

We can remind each other and ourselves of that every other Friday, over a pleasant lunch.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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