This week, we’ll be doing something a little different instead of the normal Sunday Suggestions.
Today is Father’s Day. Father’s Day has always held a special place in my heart due to the fact that I didn’t grow up with a mom. In a post from a little over a month ago, I wrote about the different mothers in my life and how they’ve all had a phenomenal impact on who I am. While my grandmothers and different types of mothers filled my life with positivity, it was my father and grandfather that left the biggest imprint on who I am today.
My father is my biggest hero. While there are many flaws that outline his life, it is abundantly clear that he has been the biggest role model and perpetrator of optimism in my life. From a very young age, it was apparent that he was struggling to place his foothold in this world. His wife left him when my sister and I were less than five years old. He lost his job, was forced to move in with his parents, and had to work overnight and menial jobs to help support us.
I watched and observed as he continued to sometimes work two jobs to help support us, all while partaking in our lives in an active way. He coached my baseball teams, took my sister to gymnastics and ballet recitals, took us bowling, played games with us, and did his absolute best to provide. To this day, I’m still not sure how he accomplished all that he did. How did my sister and I become responsible and caring adults under the care of a man that struggled for a majority of his life?
In another blog post that I wrote, I spoke about losing enjoyment in things and how my father was always able to find enjoyment while bogged down with life’s obstacles. While a certain privilege still existed for me when I was younger, we also struggled through many different things. There were times when we weren’t sure if we would be able to eat dinner that night. From time to time, we had to eat only bread and soup or just spaghetti every day for a week straight. Somehow, my father made it work.
As I aged, I began to see more and more of what my father accomplished throughout his life. He lived on a meager salary and still somehow did everything he could to be the best father. Hiccups were present, but what parenthood is without its pitfalls? I learned more about what my mother had done and how it had negatively affected my entire family. I started to see key aspects of my father’s parenting style.
On the other side of the fence, I also got to witness my grandfather being a father for a second time around. My grandfather was a father to three boys, and now he had become a pseudo father to two grandchildren. So many aspects of my father’s parenting style were present in the way my grandfather also helped raise me. I saw the work ethic and exuberant way my grandfather approached life.
I once interviewed my grandfather for a writing assignment in school. I also interviewed my father, and I wanted to share their answers for you so you could see the similarities.
In one sentence, describe what love is:
Dad: Love is about caring for somebody more than you care for yourself.
Gpa: Caring for people. Sacrifice.
In one sentence, describe what fear is:
Dad: The unknown.
Gpa: Not knowing what’s coming, not knowing what to do.
What do you feel is the strongest emotion:
Describe your life in one word:
Life has an interesting way of catering the qualities by which you define your persona around our influences. My father was obviously influenced heavily by his father, and I hope every day that I was influenced by my dad in the same way.
When I first moved to Wisconsin, my biggest homesick feeling was leaving my father and grandfather behind. I have two extremely close friends, a sister, nieces, other grandparents and extended family, yet my father and grandfather was the hardest part of moving here. So much of who I am is thanks to those two men.
As some of you might have read in a previous blog post, we lost my grandfather a little over a year ago. It was difficult, as all deaths are, but I was affected in a way that I hadn’t noticed until a few months later. While I still call my father once a week to talk, and he’s still my biggest hero, I remember looking forward to calling my grandpa to talk about the different aspects of life. For some reason, the conversations with my grandpa always made me feel at peace and how I could share all of my accomplishments and failures with him. I can still do this with my father, but there was something about holding those conversations with my grandfather that really sticks out in my mind.
My last phone call to my grandfather was about my computer. My computer had recently had a power supply problem that caused a burnout on my motherboard, graphics card, and hard drive. I took it in to a local computer repair shop, and the bill was much higher than anticipated. I didn’t have the funds to pay for it in the moment, so my grandfather offered to pay for it and I could pay him back. I called him to let him know everything they did to the computer and how much it would cost.
He passed away four days later.
I still regret not calling him more, but I can’t look to the past and dwell on my failures. Instead, I can only move forward with my actions and make sure to call my family on a more consistent basis.
All of that aside, given that I’ve deviated from the original topic, my father and grandfather mean the world to me. Something about my interactions with both of them, my time spent getting to know them, learning from them, and growing because of them has shaped me into the man I am today.
I have become a father through proxy by becoming engaged to a woman that has a daughter. She is not my own, but I am doing everything in my power to employ what my father figures instilled in me. She may not be my biological child, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her any less than I am capable. I try very hard to emulate the parenting styles of my father figures while instituting my own little flair.
A good father is paramount to a young child’s life, regardless of their gender. While a “good father” is relative, my perspective of fatherhood is based solely upon the accomplishments and achievements of the fathers in my life.
I want everything and more for my dad. I want everything and more for my child. I don’t want to be a forgotten relic in a world filled with uncertainty and disdain. Every day, I close my eyes and wish nothing but the absolute best for my father. If I could provide him with all of the money and happiness in the world, I would. Since I cannot do that, I will simply let him know how much I love, appreciate, and care for him.
My father is my hero. I hope that one day, I can be just a small tidbit of the successful father that my dad was to me.
I love you, dad. Happy Father’s Day.