Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day 2010

Of course, aside from being West Virginia’s 147th birthday yesterday, it was also Father’s day. And thankfully I was able to spend a little bit of the day with my dad, tell him I loved him, and thank him for the way he raised me. Not everyone has had the same kind of dad that I have had, and while my dad is not perfect (he would be the first to admit it), he is a wonderful father. He and my mother were instrumental in helping my siblings and I become the people who we are today.

Last night, after visiting with him briefly on Lake Floyd yesterday afternoon, I gave him a call. I called to tell him just how wonderful he was, and how much it meant to me that he and mom invested in me, my sister, and my brother. He can safely say that he has not wasted his life, and he still has more of it to live and to enjoy.

I can remember Sunday mornings being a very sacred time for us growing up. Now for all of my Christian friends, you probably think I’m going to talk about going to church and getting dressed for Sunday school. That wasn’t the case. I didn’t put my faith in Jesus until my junior year in college (and my life has been radically altered since then). No, it was a different kind of space my dad and I visited. Sundays around 10AM from the time I was in junior high (maybe earlier), we would go into my high school’s gym. He was a custodian at my high school and so we would use his keys to get in. I would practice free throws and do different drills, and we would spend a couple hours together. I never blossomed into the next Magic Johnson, as I had hoped, but dad and I had some pretty special Sunday memories together.

Not only that, my dad has always been a tremendous example of hard work and dedication to family and friends. Dad would always make sure all of us kids had enough to eat, and were able to take advantage of any opportunity to better ourselves and give us further possibilities to have better careers than he and mom had. He would work a full day, come home, and go to work in our family garden, cut grass and take care of several chores around the house. And then, before it got dark in the summer time, there was always time for playing basketball, helping me work on fielding, pitching, and hitting with baseball, kicking around a soccer ball, or going fishing in our little “Sea King” boat at Mountwood Park or the Belleville or Willow Island locks and dam (or wherever the fish were biting!).

He always encouraged us to do our best growing up. We had total freedom to fail, as long as we gave our best efforts. Dad and mom spurred us on so we might have the opportunities that he and mom did not have. He worked hard, he loved us well and truly helped us become the people we are today.
Dad has never been one for going out to eat a lot, but I can remember trips to places like Becky’s Hot Dogs in Parkersburg and sitting with our food hanging from the window as we drank root beer slushes together.

As we got off the phone last night, he was making his way into the hospital to spend time with my uncle who was in pretty intense pain after his knee surgery last week. My dad has always given selflessly of his time, and really strives to care for others around him. I hope that as I grow older, I can love people as well as he does, and I hope I can help him realize what a great example he has been to all of us kids.

And as for you, I hope you can take time to hug your dad and love him, and I would challenge you to do it, even if he hasn’t been the most loving to you. Maybe you can change the trend. I realize not everyone has great relationships with their fathers, but I hope that somehow you can mend those ties. And no matter what, I encourage you to do it soon if your father is still around. After reading Nick Kristof’s NYT article and my friend Charles Lee’s post yesterday as I was lying down for sleep, I can’t help but be reminded of the importance of taking advantage of the short time we have with people. Give em a read yourself, and then call your dad, or better yet, visit him!

And Dad, if you are reading this, I love you very much, I’m honored to be your son, and I know Becky and Chuck are as well.

No comments: