I was doing some light reading on a recent night, glancing up occasionally at the TV as political commentators droned on about the battle for party nominations in the race for president.
I began to flip channels, searching for life beyond red and blue states. Nothing caught my fancy. I looked through my smartphone for something, anything, that was interesting. But the best I got was an email from someone offering to share millions of dollars with me if I would only send them all of my identification information.
Just then, I started getting pictures texted from the WrestleMania event being held in gigantic AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. My son, Daniel, and Chris, his best friend since forever, were among the scrum of more than 101,000 fans in the stadium.
Daniel was proudly feeding me the photos. He and Chris, both over 30 years old (insert laugh here), were celebrating their last major buddy thing before Chris was to get married a week later.
Daniel was Chris’ best man. Chris was Daniel’s best man.
This is about the unshakeable friendship of two boys and how the bonding of their parents helped guide them.
I wrote a little about their relationship when Daniel got married nearly three years ago. He and Chris have been inseparable friends since elementary school. They have essentially the same caring, smart, sarcastic, dry-wit personality.
It was Chris who told my son about this girl he was so excited about taking to his high school prom. It’s the same girl he married a couple weeks ago, more than a decade later.
Their conversations range from politics to superheroes to rappers to wrestling to the news of the day. Their subject matter is really endless.
And, there is a third member of their group, Terrel. She was in both of their weddings, too. Terrel was in my daughter’s wedding last year.
It was Chris and Terrel who helped Daniel through a tough emotional time in his life. The ability of young people to lean on friends is often better than any words that parents can provide.
While parents like to take credit for the successes of their children, I think my wife and I will admit that these three had a lot to do with where they are. My son is an engineer, Chris works with college fundraising and Terrel is a lawyer. My goodness, Terrel is definitely in the right position.
But, there is something bigger here.
Chris’ dad, Michael, and I were gathering up stuff at the reception hall when he said, “I just wanted to say thank you.” Initially, I was caught off guard by the comment. But then I knew what he meant. And I said, “Thank you.”
It was for all of the years that we and our wives were there to listen and talk to our sons. It was for all of the family events that each boy was invited to attend. Chris still calls my wife “Mom.”
Shoot, I took Chris and Daniel to at least one and possibly two big wrestling extravaganzas in Baton Rouge. They had a great time. I enjoyed at least two minutes of it.
I think Michael’s “thank you” also meant that our sons were blessed to have two strong male role models in their lives. It’s something that too often is not the case in society, but especially in the African-American community.
Daniel and Chris also could count on watching what we did, how we carried ourselves and how we handled our personal and professional lives as markers for them.
Sure, our wives are strong personally and professionally and were equally as important in the rearing of Daniel and Chris. And they could have, like so many other single moms have done, raised great young men.
But, there is just that special something that a dad brings to the table in the development of sons.
I also believe that Michael and I could count on each other to provide the right direction to each other’s son when it mattered. That confidence is immeasurable.
Thank you, Michael.
Edward Pratt, a south Louisiana freelance writer, can be reached at email@example.com.