I'd like to talk about my own experiences a bit, this Father's Day . . .
My wife and I split up when my son was only 5 years old. I got custody of him and raised him for the next twenty five years. Single father -- now there's an under appreciated minority eh? There are no manuals or handbooks for being a parent, it's a learning experience, you grow along with your child or children, and I chose . . . poorly . . . at times. Not with bad intention, but more along the lines that I thought I could juggle all those balls and make everything come out okay.
Despite my clumsiness, things did come out okay. But given the opportunity, I would change a great many things, would have made more sacrifices, made him even more of the focus of my life than I did.
Every parent, I think, looks upon their child and sees something amazing, something magical, it it part of being a parent, and sometimes it is little more than wishful thinking. But even as a small child, I saw touches, touches of something bigger in my son, that gave me hope that he had the potential of being something amazing when he grew up.
And it wasn't just me. I love to tell this story of the days when we would go grocery shopping together. He was 13-ish at the time, looked like every other burgeoning teenager. And we would go through the aisles with our shopping cart, and always coming the other way would be a woman with a toddler or young child sitting in the child seat of her cart. When we were close enough for the other child to see us clearly, these children would lock their eyes on my son. There faces would light up, a delighted smile beaming from them. My son was great with children even at that young age, and he would smile and wave at them, and these little kids would look so happy just to see him, follow him with their eyes even after we had passed each other in the aisle, they would twist around in their seats and try to look at him. It was amazing. And it happened over and over down each aisle, every trip to the store. I've yet to hear another parent tell a similar story, though I don't doubt it may have occurred elsewhere. But it was magical, in every sense.
And it has carried over to his interaction with his own children. He and his family live out in California, which limits my ability to visit as often as I would like. But I make every effort to get out there once a year. I only saw my own grandfather once in my life, and I have vowed not to be that kind of grandfather to my son's girls.
But sitting in his house and watching him be a father to his own children . . . I wish I could just melt into the walls and watch them forever. The patience and love, the simple business of just playing gently with them . . . he's exactly what I knew he'd become as I watched him grow up. Of course, his girls are 6 months and not quite 3 years old at the moment. And I've already joked with him that in about 12 years he's going to have two teenage daughters and a wife in her 40's . . . that's gonna be a fun household! heh
But all in all, he's grown up amazing, has more growing to do of course, we all do, but as a father, I can look upon my son as my greatest achievement. Despite my missteps and shortcomings he has become a wonderful father, husband, and man. I could not be prouder of him.
I helped bring my son into the world, set his feet upon the path . . . if nothing of note ever occurs to me in my life subsequent to this moment, I will meet my own end in peace, for I have done my job on this Earth in this lifetime.
Thank you Son, and Happy Father's Day to you.