White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

I decided to write a post about Father's Day this year. Not my normal subject matter. Truth be told, I've usually thought cynically of both Father's and Mother's Day as mostly a commercial push by candy, flower, and necktie businesses to increase their sales. This year, though, I'm thinking about my own father, not the commercialism. I've decided to pay tribute to him this year. I don't think I've ever done that before. (Above left - my mother and father in the early 1950's; right - my father and me, early 1950's).

You see, I never knew him nor much about him. He died of a heart attack when I was four years old. I don't remember anything about him nor was there much talk about him over the years. But now, I wonder more and more as I grow older who was he? what kind of a father would he have been? what kind of man was he?

This is who I want him to be:

My father was a kind, loving, and thoughtful man. He focused on the needs of his family, sometimes subordinate to his own needs.  He set a good example by always treating others with dignity and respect.  He knew that his kids watched and saw his every behavior and that his example was, over the long term, likely of more value and impact than his words. Still, he recognized that words are powerful and spoke kindly and helpfully to me as I learned how to be my own human.

He sat on the couch with me and read book after book after book after book until one day, I could proudly read on my own.  And he hid his sadness from me that he could no longer share those special moments reading together, side by side, thigh against thigh, like we had done.

He pushed me on my bike for hours and hours, panting out of breath, until finally, I could balance on my own and pedal away. And he hid his sadness from me that he could no longer share those special moments learning to ride together like we had done.

He played catch in the yard even when sometimes he didn't want to. And he hid his sadness from me that he could no longer share those special moments playing catch when I found other kids to play with and my interests moved on.

He let me drive his car real slowly on a quiet dirt road long before I was old enough to get my own license. He made sure I could pursue my dreams and supported my efforts to do so. He gave me the life skills to thrive on my own when I left the nest to fly through life on my own.  And he hid his sadness from me that he could no longer share those special moments being together in the same household.

So where is all this introspective rambling going? Well, you see, I've been a father for 23 years now.  And since I didn't have an experience or image of what a "real father" was supposed to be, I made it up as I went along.  I guess all fathers make it up as they go along whether they have a role model or not. My goal was to try to achieve the qualities I listed above for my imaginary father.

So I say, "Happy Father's Day!" - to the father I never knew - to fathers everywhere - and to me, a father. If you haven't and you still can - call or write your own father - he may not know how to show how much he appreciates it but I assure you - he does - to the bottom of his heart.


4 comments:

  1. So eloquently and sincerely said Joe. Happy Father's Day!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Steve, Happy Father's Day to you, too!

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  2. Happy belated Father's Day to you Joe! Your story made me cry!

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