Harry Potter and the Story of My Son's Life


My son is one of those very lucky young men, who, as a boy who grows up with Harry Potter. Many generations of boys will grow up with Harry Potter, but very few will be able to say he was one of Harry's contemporaries. That privilege goes to my son.

I know that one of the most magical memories of my life will be that of the post office truck driving up our street stopping at almost every house to deliver The Goblet of Fire to frenetically excited children. I can not imagine the joy felt by that delivery person! Although it was a steamy July day, she must have felt every ounce a Santa Claus delivering toys on Christmas Eve knowing that the children were peaking at her from the staircase!

Harry's story would define my son's life more than I could ever have imagined. My wife started out reading the first novel in the series to him while he was still a thumb-sucker. Yet, he grew up to be every bit the man that Harry became.

My son's life shared other characteristics similar to Harry's. My wife and I separated when my son was just twelve years old. The struggles caused by the shattering of family life were face most admirably by my young wizard.

During my statements about divorce and its aftermath I was stuck by how common it is for divorced fathers to become homeless. Women usually keep the house and the children in divorce. The fathers leave home and begin paying child support. It is literally like paying for two homes.

Separation, divorce, the Great Recession, low sales revenues, job loss, unemployment, and under-employment take a great toll on divorced dads. My experience has shown me just how quickly and easily financial security can unravel for fathers who are driven from their homes.

My son chose to come live with me while near the end of grade ten. When the day came to pick up his things, I was amazed. He left the house, his mother, and his sister without shedding a tear. My young Harry … so brave! I do not know that I could have done that at fifteen!

His move actually saved me from a period of planned homelessness. Splitting the child support with my ex-wife would leave me enough money to pay the bills and keep a roof over my head and that of my son.

Finally, for me, some sense of a 'normal' home life would return and the financial pressure would ease, … for a while. As the world economic situation worsened, along with my employment situation, I began to deplete hard-earned savings each month in order to keep our apartment. Although I was able to shield him from the harsh outside world, my son saw me suffer. He witnessed my anguish. He knew I was struggling to get by.

Luckily, he graduated high school in time for me to avoid bankruptcy. He is excited to be moving on independently to pursue his dreams and I am very happy for him.

That fall, my son would go off to university and I would give up the apartment and move in with family in order to save money while I looked for a job. I found one just in time to enable me to close the purchase agreement I had signed on a new condo unit two years prior, when I had a good, well-paying job. That's me, Ron Weasley, saying, "Whew! Thanks for slaying that dragon, Harry. Nice to know you've got my back."

A grand life lies ahead for me, too, somewhere in the future. A life free from scorn, belittlement, and abuse. A life full of adventure, excitation, and fulfillment. To my chagrin, several hard years of material sacrifice lie in front of it. The new job is not as well-paying as the one I had a few years ago. On the other hand, it allows me to live in the same town as my daughter and to maintain that relationship. After she leaves for university, I expect to migrate to one of the big cities in the more prosperous region of the country in order to obtain a better-paying position more appropriate to my experience and accomplishments.

I will sell the condo and employ 'strategic homelessness' as a vehicle for maintaining positive cash flow while I get my kids through university. This is adaptation, not despair. I have choices. The truly homeless do not. My heroes continue to inspire me. If Harry Potter can fight off a powerful evil wizard at the age of thirteen, certainly I can handle this. Harry was victorious. So will I be.

I recall dropping my son off at university to begin his first year of studies – his first year of independence. My former wife, my daughter, and I were lingering with my son in his dorm room after unpacking our cars, hesitant to make the final final. I decided it was time to go. "Well, I'll leave you to it. Work hard. Have fun!", I urged him. He was visibly jolted into consciousness by these words, realizing that he was actually on his own! His 'real' life was about to begin!

As we looked into each other's eyes, we shared a quiet moment of knowingness, as men, as warriors. And as we said good-bye, another scene played in my head. A scene not of a college dorm room, but of a battlefield somewhere far beyond the walls of Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A scene of two prodigious adolescent boys catching their breath after another hard-fought battle against the evil wizard.

In the post-war quiet of a smoldering patch of land, our heroes would check each other with a sense of awareness of how each has helped the other win one more battle against the odds.

Their overly-simplistic, measured verbal exchange became their trademark phrase that was more a mutual tribute than a question and answer. It was a veiled statement of congratulation tempered by a heavy knowledge that, while one battle has been won, many more lay in their path ahead. Situations where they know to the bottom of their souls, they can depend upon each other to get through.

"Alright then, Harry?"
"Alright, Ron."

Source by Tom J Moloney