Well another Father’s Day is upon us and as I sit here watching my two kids run through the house, play with each other, and do whatever else normal three and six year old kids, do I can’t help but think back and wonder how many of those moments my own dad had. My younger brother and I are two years and five months apart so just about the same space between my two kids. There were times that I can remember dad moving the coffee table out of the way so that we could wrestle as well as when he would get on all fours and my brother and I would climb on his back for a ride. My all time favorite though was when he would lay on the couch with one leg on the seat and the other up across the top and one of us would get a pillow and lay between his legs and watch t.v. together. On some occasions we were even the “fortunate” recipients of a bit of flatulence; a natural father/son thing to some and we as kids found it amusing naturally.

There are so many fond memories growing up of dad that it’s hard to sit here and think of all of them without getting some tears and knowing that obviously I can’t remember or write them all down. On more occasions than I can count he would announce he was going to the store and want to know if anyone wanted to go. Stupid question right? So dripping with excitement we would hurry up and get ready and off we went to Vermont Drugs or another store for his paper, milk, or other needed household items and always leave with some candy or even some baseball cards. We had our bad times too resulting in part from his own childhood and some of that flowed into us causing me to resent him for many years for things that had happened. It got so bad that when I got to be a teen I even once told him I hated him and found the strength to push him down. A moment in my past that I deeply regret in some ways but in others I don’t because it marked a pivotal point in our lives together.

Something broke that day as I was a senior in high school and I looked inside and saw what I was becoming and I think he saw what it had done to both of us and the damage that it had caused. From that day on I began to see my dad in a different light than I ever had before. For the first time in my life I was grown up enough to, instead of judge him for being too hard,  stand in his shoes to see why he was like he was. I began to see the loving, powerful, and honorable man who had a hard childhood but was doing his best to be better but still found failures no matter how hard he tried. He loved his boys in a way that they couldn’t imagine and was doing his best to show an emotion that could be so hard. He did anything and everything for us and we never wanted for anything we needed and we always knew we were loved. He always worked the long shifts, studied through his apprenticeship to better himself, and put himself through hell to make sure that his family had everything they needed. What more amazing still is that through all of that he always had time for us no matter how tired he was.

Now it’s about thirty years later I’m the dad watching my two kids dance around, run to the door when I get home, and shout with excitement when I ask if anyone wants to go to the store. It’s me who is on all fours giving rides, tickling them until they’re out of breath, and teaching them to beware of the “claw” (index finger curved like a claw to tickle with). Unfortunately though it’s also me who can tend to get mad at the dumb things kids do and lose my temper just like dad but when I do I have an example to look back on to help guide my response and temper my temper. My hope is that I can be half of the man my dad was and still is because we wasn’t a father to me at all, as a matter of fact he was far from it. He was a dad, my dad to be exact, and any male can be a father biologically speaking but it takes a real man to be a dad.

I hope one day I can be half the dad he was and still is to me.

Happy Dad’s Day Dad. Your oldest son still and always will love you.