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Father's Day Advice: Hey, Dads Don't Blink

Memories flow on son's graduation day.

Now, I wish I had given him a longer name.

Sitting in the bleachers at a high school field a week ago, I listened to the graduation addresses, waiting for the big moment.

Through the crowd of look-alike graduates, I could see him, sitting on the folding chair.

Whether it was in a play or a band concert or just coming out of elementary school in the afternoon rush, I could always spot him.

Dads can do things like that.

I've never had a problem finding him, but one time I did lose him.

We were in a toy store, looking for a present, when he drifted away from me to another section of the store.

I panicked.

What was I going to tell his mother, when I returned her daughter but not her son?

I raced through the store, looking in every aisle, but still no son.

Finally, I alerted store security, who went in a code red for a missing child.

My daughter tried to calm me down, but I was the on the verge of a meltdown.

Finally, there he was in the middle of the video game section, looking at the back of a video game.

I wanted to yell at him, but I could only hug and kiss him. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, the Class of 2013..."

How did this happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that we were driving to day care in the morning and stopping at Burger King for hash browns, while he sang to me in the back of the car?.

Didn't we just play with his pirate ship on the bedroom floor of my apartment?

Just the other day or so, it seems, I was just divorced from his mother. He and his sister were staying with me in my apartment. I remember kissing him good night on the forehead before bed.

The names were starting to be called at the graduation.

Last week, weren't we at a middle-school play and he was wearing a grass skirt in 'South Pacific"?

I remember it like it was just the other day. I took him to freshmen orientation at his high school. I sat with him during the presentation, but then I was told to stay in the corner while he explored with his friends.

My little boy was growing up.

The first row of the graduates had received their diplomas, and my son was making his way toward the stage.

I could swear a couple of hours ago we were talking about what classes to take as a junior, and he was performing in a high school play.

He now wants to be a screen writer and his dream is taking him to Drexel University in Philadelphia in the fall.

"Matthew Tyler Hardman."

In a minute, he grabbed his degree, shook hands with the dean of students and had his photo taken.

OK, let's rewind and go back and do that again. It all happened too quick for this father.

What happened to the kid telling me silly jokes from the back seat of my Honda Civic?

Of course, he grew up.

He's 18 and ready to go off and find his fame and fortune.

You know, though, I should have convinced his mother to name him

"Maximillian Christopher Hardman."

At least his graduation cerremony part would have lasted a little longer.

Happy Father's Day.

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