With some reluctance, and after several requests over the last few weeks, I let my 5 year old son watch me shave this morning. I'm sure this experience is different for every father and son, as unique as our individual DNA imprint. However, all such experiences of all fathers and sons (especially fathers who were curious sons once) will most likely have one element in common -this is that one bonding moment between father and son that has always been, and will always be, very very special, something that only another who has been through can understand. It's that feeling of being a man (not celebrated as much these days - certainly not the way women celebrate the feeling of being a woman), and more so, a man with a son who wants to be like him (in at least one department - shaving!) or, seen from the son's side, a wannabe man with a father he wants to be like (in at least one department - shaving!)
He was full of questions about shaving today, as he always is, about everything. Why gel was different from foam. Why I had both. Why I picked the gel today. Why I don't wear a mustache or beard. Why I didn't shave against the grain (of course, he didn't quite articulate this question as it appears here). Why my razor had two blades. Why it didn't hurt. Why I used after-shave. And of course, the big question - Why boys got facial hair as they grew older and girls didn't.
His continuous barrage of questions (some really tough ones which have me groping around for suitable responses) can be quite trying at times, but I have discovered I have learnt much from him. Every time he asks me a question and I turn around and look at his face, I am struck by his sense of wonder. By his ability to ask questions freely and uninhibitedly. The combination of curiosity, awe and innocence in his eyes. The anticipation and excitement of future experience. And the impatience to get there. Those are my moments of truth. Moments when I realise that questions have stopped popping up in my mind, and even those that do, I have stopped asking. Just as I've stopped looking to the future with excited eyes.
Thanks, son, for helping me re-learn the ability to question, and to feel excited about what is yet to come.