"The view which Bear and I enjoyed while having a first beer together..."
Ok, comes a time in every parent's life (most parents anyway) where they sit down and enjoy a first beer with their son or daughter. In my case, my son Harrison and I were able to experience exactly that in the Irish Bar located in Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy.
Bear is 17 and a half and more than old enough to legally drink a beer here. So what a great opportunity to share something so sacred as a drink with my own son and to unwind and just talk with him in a way we rarely can back in the states.
We took a table outside that my friends who work the establishment cleared for us. The bartender Steve (an art student and all around great dude), brought us two Heineken's a piece. Setting them on the table, Bear grabbed his in his fist and took a big swig. I told him to go easy. The alcohol could go to his head. But he just shrugged his shoulders like, "No big deal, dad."
Suddenly I was reminded of that scene in the 80's comedy classic "Vacation" where Chevy Chase sits down to enjoy a first beer with his teenage son. The kid chugs the beer and crushes the can in his fist, making it plainly apparent it's obviously not his first. Now, I'm not condoning underage drinking here by any means. But what I'm talking about is a sacred rite of passage. In this case, I thought I was above being the forty something naive dad, and totally in tune with my son. But when he downed his beer like it was just another glass of Pepsi, I knew that this wasn't Bear's first beer by any means.
It made me feel strange, like I didn't know him as well as I should. However, we had one more together and we entered through that rite of passage together and we talked about life and dreams and adventures and ups and downs, and all those things that make up a life worth living.
Sharing your first beer with your son isn't all about beer. It's about love.