When my son was little he was obsessed with King Kong. And not just the modern remake. He loved the older films. He is an old soul. Unique. I will be honest, I got sick and tired of watching the same movie over and over again. The graphics in the 1933 film were on par with the Davey and Goliath clay-animated cartoon series.
In elementary school my son was assigned a project to make something using 100 pieces of any object. It was to commemorate the 100th day of school. I have no idea what makes day 100 any more special than day 79 or 84 other than it’s an even number. People love even numbers especially when it comes to pumping gasoline. Anyway, he made the Empire State Building out of Popsicle sticks. My son would eventually move on to something else. Living in denial that my baby was maturing, I packed the King Kong toys in a bin and placed it in a corner in the basement; just in case.
My son turned 16 on Sunday. We took a trip to New York City to celebrate. I drove him, two classmates and my friend, Elizabeth, to Manhattan early Saturday morning. I couldn’t possibly take this trip alone. Teenagers can be more difficult to rein in than toddlers. We were going to visit the Museum of Modern Art and see “Something’s Rotten” on Broadway. These are things my son is passionate about. On the drive down we listened to a variety of music. Elizabeth was in charge of the radio and at one point she turned to the 80’s station. “Oh, wow. The oldies,” said one of my son’s friends. The oldies? I dropped him off a rural road in Pennsylvania and we continued on our journey.
We were strolling through the streets of Manhattan when my son asked if we could go to the Empire State Building. We took a subway near the popular tourist attraction and followed our map. For those of you under 20 years of age, a map is like a navigator, but it doesn’t talk, have moving graphics or do any of the work for you. We went down a few blocks and crossed several streets. “I don’t see the building anymore,” Elizabeth said. I didn’t see it either. That is, until we looked up. We were standing at the entrance. Now, I just had to pay $25 a person to ride an elevator to the top. I grumbled a bit about adding this additional stop to our itinerary. That is, until we stepped off the elevator. The view was spectacular. The look on my son’s face was even better. “This reminds me of those King Kong movies I used to watch.” We both smiled, but I was fighting back tears. I could see my little boy running around the house with a King Kong figure in his little hands. I could hear him playing with the toys, roaring and laughing. I am proud of the young man my son has become, but I miss those days. The hardest part of being a parent is when your children grow up.