My son was born 29 years ago today. It wasn’t the easiest birth. The doctor – Dr. Stanley Mosier – had to use forceps to get him out. Do they still use those things? It seems barbaric, doesn’t it?
Anyway, Jeff’s little head was pretty bruised and the doctor kept him overnight for observation. Well, the doctor didn’t keep him overnight. The hospital did, on the doctor’s orders. Just to clear that up.Jeffrey Douglas LutzI was pretty shook up, but was assured that he would be OK. And sure enough, he was. We took him home the next day, I believe, in the evening, just in time for Christmas.
At the time, I thought I would be the father of at least one more child. It didn’t happen. Jeff is my one and only and helping raise him as a single parent was the biggest challenge and the biggest reward of my life. He made it through middle school, the toughest times. He graduated from high school. He went to college and, after a few extra semesters, received a degree. He’s making ends meet and I believe wants to become a teacher and continue to be a journalist.
Jeff reminds me a lot of my father, one of the kindest people I ever knew. And there’s some of my mother in him, too. She wasn’t the kindest person I ever knew, but had other attributes that Jeff seems to have inherited. I’m sure he reminds his mother of her parents, in some ways. But beyond all of that, Jeff is definitely his own person.
He has never been a follower. And while that is mostly a ringing endorsement, there were times I wanted him to follow my instructions. Yes, it’s OK to follow that kind of stuff.
He has never been much of a drinker. Never smoked. He’s not a straight arrow, I don’t believe, but he doesn’t get all wild and crazy the way I sometimes do (did?). No, I still do once in a great while. But age has curtailed most of the wacky stuff.
Jeff was a pretty good athlete, although once he hit about 5-foot-8 he stopped growing. I tried stretching him between a couple of tree limbs with an elastic cord, but it didn’t work. (There are a few of you who believed that, aren’t there?)
His lack of size curtailed his basketball career. But he was a fine center fielder in baseball and I thought he could have been a decent football player, although his lack of height would have been an issue in that sport, too.
What Jeff lacked in stature, though, he made up with in satire. The kid has a sense of humor, which is probably where my mother comes into play. That woman had a biting and quick wit.
Jeff endured my many relationships following my divorce from his mother, and did so without being judgmental or negative. I appreciate that because I didn’t always use the best judgment when dating. It wasn’t until I met my wife, Debbie, three years ago that I got it right. And it was as obvious to Jeff as it was to me.
The toast he read at my wedding reception is and will always be one of the highlights of my life. I’ve been reading it over and over lately and it is evidence that the father-son bond is as strong as you think it is. Jeff and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but there was never any doubt in either of our minds about how much we loved one another.
He has been the biggest influence on my life. I am so thankful I have had the opportunity to be his dad and to bask in all of the experiences. Good and bad. But overwhelmingly good because he’s just a good guy. And I’m proud of him.