According to the unwritten laws of American popular culture, fathers and sons are supposed to bond over baseball, or in some exceptional cases, cars. My boy A.J. and I have done more than our share of baseball bonding (and I think he is only now beginning to realize that it’s not entirely normal for a father to want to play as much backyard wiffle ball as I do). But lately we’ve been bonding over garbage.
Tuesday night is trash night at our house, which means that after dinner he and I haul our two big, wheeled barrels out to the street. A.J. takes the one with the recycling and I take the one with the general trash. He’s still a little kid, and it’s real work for him to lug the can up the slope of our long driveway--but for some reason he doesn’t complain about it, as he sometimes does about other, seemingly easier chores, like making his bed. Once we’ve put out the trash, he’ll challenge me to a race back to our front porch. If it’s a clear night, we’ll stop and look at the stars before we go back in, and A.J. will try to educate me about the constellations.
I’ve never really looked forward to taking the garbage out before, but this little routine has become one of the highlights of my week. You don’t hear so much about trash night as a vehicle for father-son bonding, but I suppose you take your Significant Life Moments where you can find them.