As Father’s Day 2012 wraps up I find myself thinking about my life and how it has changed. I am going through a divorce and no longer live at home. My boys are 17 & 19. One is in college 4 hours away and the other still lives at home, which is now an hour away from me, so I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I would like. However, boys that age have their own social calendars, so even if I was still at home, I would need to make an appointment to spend any time with them. I am grateful that they want to be in my life, though, and cherish the time I do get to spend with them.
I was not a very good husband or father for much of their childhood, but thankfully, they are forgiving boys and still want to see me. I am so grateful that they do and although I did not get to see them today, was so thankful to spend time with them earlier this week. I think about the times I wasted and how I wish I would have done things differently, but then I stop and realize that replaying mistakes does nothing but create sadness. There is enough sadness in the world already and to be honest, we do not have enough time in our lives to waste by focusing on sadness. Rather, I should focus on the positive and the blessings in my life and forget about the things that I cannot change anyway. So, whether it makes sense or not, that train of thought brought up some memories from my childhood and my Dad.
My Dad worked hard, whether at home, on the main job, or on the other jobs he did to provide a better life for us. He worked a lot and often he wasn’t at home until late at night during the week. He frequently worked weekends to make extra money. He was a plumber and occasionally took remodeling jobs to provide extra for the family. He often took me with him “to help”. How much “help” I was, is still in question. It helped me, though. I learned so much from those work opportunities and I regret that I could never could take my boys to work with me. Dad took my brother and I with him to work many times on Saturday when we were elementary school age. Those were special times for me. We were given free reign of the plumbing warehouse when we were there. A boy’s paradise, full of tools, plumbing parts, bins to climb inside, and endless places to hide.
One of my favorite treats was going to eat breakfast on the way to work. It may have been at Waffle House or a coffee shop or a local cafe, but it really didn’t matter when I was with my Dad. Many times he would meet his buddies for coffee. (He still does this today, by the way). Although we might have been asked questions, we didn’t say much, choosing instead to listen to the stories and the laughter, soaking it all in. The mere fact that we were included was amazing to me. He always made sure that we shook hands, acknowledged Mr. Whoever it was, and then (what I was always was so amazed by) that they knew that we were were his sons. In my mind at least, the mere fact that these men knew and worked with my dad made them special, and that they would acknowledge me, made them even more so. Logic today tells me that his friends knew about us already and didn’t think he kidnapped two random children, but as a boy, hearing your Dad tell his buddies how proud he is to have his son with him? Well, makes me tear up just thinking about it. Why?
Because as a small boy, your Dad is usually your hero. Who makes a better hero than someone who is bigger and stronger than you, can lift heavy things and get stuff off the top shelf, doesn’t cry when he falls, never needs directions, and knows how to do everything? Sure, the cape was missing but for most boys DAD = SUPERMAN, at least until I got older and learned that he wasn’t perfect. Of course, I learned later that he and his buddies were just normal guys, plagued with the same flaws we all face. However, on Saturday mornings when I was a kid, my Dad and his friends were superheroes. They could move mountains, stop floods, and save the planet if given enough time. I hope one day, my boys will have a few of those thoughts about me.
I love you. Your cape is in the mail 🙂