I loved my Dad but I didn’t always like him. And I didn’t really start to appreciate him till after he died. Now I often see him in my mirror. When I try to solve a problem, I often hear him. When I look at some of the tools I inherited from him, I ask, “What the hell is that?” – I use the word ‘tools’ metaphorically AND literally in that thought.
He and I disagreed on more than we agreed on, but I always knew he cared about me and his family and he meant the best. He worked many years beyond when he could have retired so that there would be extra money available when the Parkinson’s really kicked in. He established credit so he’d have it but rarely used it; he preferred to pay for everything as he bought it. Why didn’t I learn that lesson from him?
I am a lot more adventurous than he ever was and I am much more open to new ideas, experiences and products. Yet most of my tools are Craftsman and most of my pants are khaki; both of those factors relate to him in some way. If I have to make a hard choice between ‘gut’ and ‘practicality’, I almost always chose the latter; although my free-spirited side usually directs me to avoid having to make that a hard choice. My own way is to find a balance. I do not think I learned that from him.
Of course I am thinking about all of this because Father’s Day weekend is here. I’ve been married more than once yet my only kids have been dogs and cats. It’s not medical or physical; anyone who knows me well knows that back story behind that claim. The timing was never right and now I believe that window has closed; I can’t imagine being the parent of a high school kid in my seventies. The irony, however, is that I’d be a better parent now than I ever would have been twenty years ago or more. One of my personal missions is to make people feel good about themselves in an honest way; it took a long time for me to understand that is what my Dad tried to do with me. He was just clumsy about it.
I wish I had all of this deep understanding when my Dad was alive. If I could do things over again, I would have tried harder to be friends with him, or at least spend more time with him. If your Dad is alive, visit or call him Sunday. In many ways, Father’s Day is your day as much as it is his.