It’s been a confusing week, to be honest.
Every year, as far back as I can remember, we’ve gotten together as an extended family for Father’s Day. With my grandfather’s passing in April, though, we’ve decided to spend it as individual families this year. It made me really sad. I’ll miss seeing my aunts and uncles and cousins. I’ll miss seeing all the second cousins playing together. I just love being with them.
But, it’s a painful time, which is why I understand the decision. For all my aunts and uncles, it’s their first Father’s Day without their dad. That’s huge. It’s a year for us to miss grandpa and to focus on our own families; all the families he has directly affected. In fact, earlier this week I was feeling sad, but wasn’t sure why. Julie and the kids stopped by my work and the kids all ran to me and gave me a hug to cheer me up. Claire asked why momma said I was sad and I told her I wasn’t sure, sometimes you just get sad. “I bet I know why. I think you’re sad because grandpa died,” she told me. She was right. My perceptive little princess. Even now my heart is in my throat thinking about it.
So, I’m sad about grandpa, but let me tell you something…I love my dad.
My dad and I have never been extremely close. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just a fact. My parents divorced when I was five or so and I only saw my dad every other weekend for most of my childhood. He always came to my concerts and plays, though. He was very dedicated in that way. Then in the summer of 2000, after spending a few months in Seattle, I thought, “Maybe I’ll see if I can live with my dad when I go back to Wisconsin. That’ll be cool!” It wasn’t that cool. I was 22 and in love with a girl that lived two hours away. Needless to say, I wasn’t a very good tenant. Or son, for that matter.
We’ve developed a great relationship over the last decade, though. Getting married to a wonderful woman and having three awesome kids has helped. And, as hard as it was, the week and a half we spent together at hospice with grandpa really brought us closer together.
I’ll always remember the day at hospice when my dad pulled out a little notebook and showed me all the words he had written about what his dad meant to him. Words like “provider” and “friend” and “hero” filled the small page. I always knew they were close, but I don’t think I realized just how close. It’s funny, because thinking back, we’ve always even lived close to grandpa. My dad helped him all the time.
My dad has always been family first. He’s proud of his wife and his sons. He’s also a hard-worker. He’s been working at the same job faithfully for as long as I can remember. And he’s damn good at it, too. He also knows practically everyone and is highly regarded in his community. What’s funny is that when we’d go out when I was a kid, I’d inevitably see someone I knew. “Yeah, right…you know everybody,” he’d jab. Well, it all makes sense now; I got it from him!
On this Father’s Day, I appreciate my dad. He’s a great example of a good man, husband, friend, brother, son…and father. I’m proud to call him mine.
Love you, dad.