Legends of Honour, Strength, and Love

As this father’s day approaches I have been doing a lot of thinking in regards to my own father.  My father, as a father, was flawed.  He could be judgemental and suspicious, harassing and sarky.  He was never emotional and if I had a perfect memory I probably could count on one hand the number of times he’s said I love you.  And growing up we had a tense relationship. 

Fast forward the clock several years and here I am a father in my own right and it is so clear to me what it was my father tried to do for me.  I understand the frustrations a father feels when he feels like he can’t provide something of beneficial value to his children when they need it.  I know the deep soul wrenching agony to feel like you have let your family down.  I know the fear that despite all that you do you will lose one or all of your children to the world or death.

My wife asked me the other day what I thought my father’s legacy would be when he died.  My response was “work hard and never give up.”  Trying to live up to that standard bar has often been a cilice in my adult life that at times pushes me ever forward with diligence and perseverance and at times has brought me to my knees in shame for falling so short of the mark. 

One of my earliest memories of my father is so vivid and yet so disconnected that I have never figured out how much was dream and how much really happened.  When my father was working in the oil field he use to share with me his hopes of owning his own company some day.  I have a vivid memory that I am certain was a dream of my father showing me a garage full of vehicles that were going to be for his business.  Later in life my father planned less for this opportunity and focused more on others but the damage was done from that time forward I have been obsessed with the idea of owning my own business.  My obsession is deepend because I often wonder if my father had to forgo his dream in order to more reliably provide for his family.  This thought is one of the driving forces in my life – I want to succeed big enough for us both.

One last memory to share about my father, though there are many that  I could share.  In 1994 my father drove me from Wyoming to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I attended New Mexico State University for a semester.  After helping me check in and move in my father shook my hand, gave me a hug, and began to cry.  At the time I think we were both a little embarrased in the moment and I remember after we parted ways I myself teared up and was frustrated at doing so.  I was, however, touched in the moment.  But that moment did not mean nearly as much to me then (and it meant a lot) as it does now.  When I think about it now I get overwhelmed imagining the number of emotions and memories and hopes my father simultaneously experienced at a level that it made a man, whom I have only ever seen cry twice, tear up to say goodbye to his oldest son. 

Father’s day is a day to celebrate legendary men of honour, strength, and love from the generation before ours.  But it is also to support and encourage and edify the current generation of fathers many of whom are self-taught fathers living day to day just trying to get it right everyday.  I thank each and every one of those men for their example to me.  My children will be better people as I look to the example of my father and other honourable men who have worked hard and never given up on us their children.

On this Father’s Day I would like to say to my father thank you for making me possible.  Thank you for accepting the divine call of a father becuase through all of the victories and failures, mistakes and successes as a father the person I am today was made possible and for better or for worse I am so grateful for that.

Will you please share your memories, stories, and thanks with me and the readers of my blog this Father’s Day weekend.  Thank you.

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~ by Mel's Boy on Saturday, 20 June 2009.

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