Sunday, June 18, 2006

Remembering My Father

It's Father's Day again, the 11th I've had without my father. I've not really celebrated the holiday since his death. Father's Day was always about my Dad, not me, though I've been a father myself for the last 25 years.

The role of father has always felt like an ill-fitting suit of clothes on me -- something that's never been quite natural or comfortable to me. I feel ill at ease with Father's Day for myself, as parenthood wasn't anything I ever sought out; rather, I was dragged kicking and screaming into fatherhood. And though I stepped up to the plate and did what was necessary when I became a single custodial parent by default, I did so mainly out of duty and never with much enthusiasm. I was just very lucky that my father was there by my side, willing to do whatever he could for my son and I.

I couldn't have done it without my father. He was there for my son when I worked swing shifts as a police officer and when I was off doing my own thing. When I couldn't afford everything my son needed, my father made up the difference. He went to parent/teacher meetings, to doctor appointments, took my son and his friends places, made his home the house on the block where all my son's friends could come to play, spent hours with him just hanging out, you name it. He had the time, he had the patience, and most importantly, he had the desire to raise my son.

Indeed, everything good my son is, is because of my father, not because of me. I spent most of his childhood as a detached father, to say the least. I am a selfish man -- I was a selfish father, too. Though I saw to my son's needs as best as I could, my own needs always still came first. My father put my son first, me second, and himself last.

My son was the only one of the four grandchildren who got to know my father well on a daily basis. To this day, he knows he was the luckiest one of the grandchildren.

Thank you, Dad. For everything.

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