Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dads, Sons, and Life

Hi! Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. As it turns out, today happens to be Father’s Day, so I guess it’s appropriate that I write about that. Oh, and go hug your parents if you’re able to…

For the record, I've always hated Father’s Day.

As a kid, I was permanently broke and could never think of anything to get my Dad. If I asked, it was always the same answer – socks. Or a hug. Neither of these felt like they were enough, so I usually drew him something or made him a model airplane. He seemed to like them, but I still felt guilty.

As I got older and moved to college, it was hard to maintain contact with him and Mom since they were still in Europe and I was in Arlington…and this was the pre-internet Stone Age. So (if I remembered at all) I’d send him a card and hope it got there in time, but I still felt guilty. More dislike of the holiday.

As I got older – and I started to understand what it was like to be an adult, I got a bit better about checking in with my Dad.
Time seemed to speed up. He and Mom moved back here, I found a girl who would actually put up with my insanity, got married and then - all of a sudden, *I* was a Dad.

Very quickly, I began to understand my father. The things that annoyed me about him as a child now became completely clear.
  • The forgetfulness and repetition of stories?  Stress and sleep deprivation.
  • The muttering under his breath? Trying to remember something important while distractions hurtled at him.
  • The sadness in his eyes as he politely declined another insistent request to play Panzerblitz (yeah, I was geeky when geeky wasn't cool)? Sheer fatigue from driving and working 12 hours a day.
  • His flare of anger when I tried to “help” him fix a bike or other machine, and screwed it up? He just wanted the damn thing over with so he could take care of the 500 other items on his list.
  • His retreating to the bathroom for as long as he could before being rousted out? Dad loved to read, and he never, ever had enough time.
These points became clear because I started to do the same things. OK, maybe I spend less time on the loo than him (I have a man-cave in which I can do my reading, a luxury he never had), but, really – I am becoming my father.

He hated Father’s Day as well. Didn’t like a fuss being made over him, he said.

After Mom passed (colon cancer, terrible to watch), Dad moved in with my brother. Kayli and I built a house just a few blocks away so we would be close, and my son would be able to stay near to his grandfather.  Dad’s cigarette-smoking past caught up with him, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He fought it hard, and – with the help of awesome doctors – kicked it to the curb, where it remained in remission for 6 years. The Docs were amazed at his toughness, but I just smiled. That was just Dad. He had grandsons he wanted to see grow up, and he for damn sure wasn’t going to be deprived of that pleasure.

He succeeded, and almost lived to see my son graduate from High School, but cancer is patient.

So now, I still hate Father’s Day, because I think of socks, and hugs, and wish more than anything in the world that I had to worry about what to get him as a present. I think I figured this year’s out though…

…hey Dad – I got you a blog post. Hope you like it :)


  1. That was incredibly sweet. You made me cry at work. Good job.

  2. Awwww...didn't mean to make you cry, sweetie, but very glad you liked it. I promise the next one will be lighter, though :)

  3. Just popping in to say that your dad probably would have thought I was weird. :)

  4. You are SAPA. He thought we were all weird! :)

  5. *sniffle* I was just thinking of your dad (and mine) watching the World Wars series on the History Channel. He was a great guy, and this is a beautiful gift to him.