A note on fathers

[Added from journal notes on the road, but published with the appropriate date]

To his credit, my father didn't blink once that I'd spent the entirety of Father's Day on the road, out of touch, calling at the very last second to wish him a good one. He's never been one for the holiday. Or birthdays. Or gifts. So that I sent him a card with a short note was probably more than he was comfortable with, though he was obviously happy about it.

It took years for me to get close to my father. Not because he was distant or cruel or differed so fundamentally from me. Growing up, my father worked a lot. And when he wasn't working, I was often doing my own thing, having had wanderlust from an early age (and back then, you could be eight years old and vanish down the street for hours). Sometimes he worked two jobs; often he worked evenings or nights. When I was really young, he spent some time overseas in the military. He didn't like "things," but we all did, and he made sure we had what we needed and a lot of what we wanted.

Though he grew to hate it, my father read the same book to me every night for ages, if I wanted to hear it. When I got my dog when I was 32, he asked what I'd named him. And when I told him "Max," he groaned a little (but there was a laugh buried in it) and said, 'That damn book. 'The night when Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind...'."

He doesn't remember doing it, but I do.

He doesn't remember most of the good advice he gave me, but he gave me a lot of it. He once told me, "When there's a problem, you can try to get the other person to change or you can think about whether there is some way you can. Which one seems more likely?" He was barbecuing me a hamburger at the time (the only thing I'd eat at that age) and looking over the car he wanted to fix up. The words "effortlessly wise" pop to mind thinking about it now.

So maybe it is no surprise that when I did come in the door and pick up the phone to call, he wasn't worried about Father's Day. He wanted to know how the trip was, and how the show went. He wanted to know about the drive and my car and whether I'd watched the Celtics beat up on Kobe. He wanted to know, but was decent enough not to pry, about the girl I like. He was, as always, patient and happy with what he had.

I aspire to that.

Happy Father's Day.


No response to “A note on fathers”
Post a Comment | Post Comments (Atom)