This day has had several different meanings for me over the years. Although I am not totally at peace with it, I am totally at peace with my dad.
I always had anticipated that I would be a dad. I had vowed I would never forget what it was like to be a kid, and that although dad’s do have to be stearn, dole out punishment, and keep you on a path towards success, I also thought there was no reason I couldn’t have all of the fun in the world. I expected to teach a kid everything I could about being a grownup, be it a girl or boy. But things never panned out the way they did in my head when I was younger, and it may be a regret later in life, I am OK with it now.
I met my biological father a few years back. Not what any adoptee would be hoping for I guess. I visited with him shortly a few times, I wrote him a letter, and haven’t heard from him since. I suppose it wouldn’t be hard to find him now. The answers to the questions I had about my paternal father came when I was doing some background work on him and spoke with one of his former co-workers. I found out more in that 45 minutes than I had ever imagined.
Anyone who might know me from my childhood would remember the huge discrepancies that my dad and I used to have. I didn’t care for mainstream sports, instead I would rather be outside in the great outdoors, getting greasy taking motors and the like apart and building things. I was not an academic brain trust as my brother Mike was. Even back then I enjoyed photography, and dad working at Kodak helped me along in that passion. I very much enjoyed the fire department and soon thereafter, medicine.
Today I cannot be anymore grateful for the guy I call dad, father and pop. One of the greatest men I could have ever met. He took me in as his own son, not of his blood, and raised me, nurtured me, guided me, supported me, and bailed me out of jams – more than once I might add. At the time, I played sports because my brother did, and dad did. I learned about sportsmanship, the rules of the games, the etiquette. It made me a better guy I think.
Now that we have better conversations, I love to hear about the town he grew up in, and the things he did as a kid. The work he did at GE and Kodak – some of which was classified for the government. He also served at Camp Drum as it was called then in the National Guard. Those are great stories too!
He married my mom, raised two boys in the ‘burbs and generously fulfilled his obligations as a husband and a father – especially to me. He’s creeping up there in years, and I don’t know how much longer I will enjoy his company watching golf, baseball, football, and the old spaghetti westerns, but I enjoy it all with him and make sure to make the most of creating memories that will last.
So, although we have had our ups and downs as father and son, I would pick no one else to be my dad.