Drunks and children

11:30 on a Tuesday night. They were calling.

They were drunk.

There was some chant about one of them in a cable-knit sweater — something for which he'll take flak for a long time — and equally friendly ribbing towards the other not having any "indie cred" because he lived in a swank pad on Boston's Commonwealth Avenue (s chi-chi address for those of you who don't know Boston).

Joking, and ribbing, and non-sequetors lead to the real reason for their call; "we miss you, buddy."

Yeah. I miss them too. But that emotion is conflicted.

Two years into our stint in California and I'm starting to feel like part of the community. Playing in a band. Video taping baseball games. Double dates with parents of our kids' friends. For someone who finds community important, I finally have people say "hey, RJ!" when I walk into a room. That makes me feel like I belong. That makes me feel settled.

But it doesn't mean I don't miss my friends, or Boston. The accents. The second-fiddle-ness to New York. The seasons. The history. The Red Sox. My family. There are so many things about Boston that I miss, but there are so many things about our new home that I now find appealing.

Regardless, being in the moment last night, having them think about me and think that calling me was a good idea warmed my heart and was one of those little reminders of the decades-long connection I have with these two men — men who are also fathers.

And each of them, like most of us, have their own little struggles they contend with from the day to day effort we all put in to maintain healthy marriages, to the fears and anxieties fathers have in hoping they raise good young men.

One of our friends is not only dealing with the usual rigors of parenthood and marriage, but his son was also diagnosed with autism a couple of years back.

Last night he finally admitted to himself how much he had cloistered himself, and his emotions, in order to deal with a life altering diagnosis. I don't tell him in these words, but to me he and his wife are heros. They have kept their marriage rock solid as they've rallied to figure out the best treatments and course of action for their son. Their devotion is saint-like. And that he has cloistered his emotions is more than understandable.

And even if it took a few alcoholic beverages for him to start to reach out to his friends for a few extra shoulders to lean on, at least he is doing it now, and we feel honored to be those shoulders.

My grandmother once said, "drunks and children tell no lies." I could go on for hours about that one. Maybe that'll be one of the next posts.


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