Today marks the seventh Father's Day since my Dad died on June 9, 2001. It also marks the 17th year that I've been a Father on Father's Day.
Can any Father not judge themselves against their own Father?
I never felt my Dad was one who ever felt put himself first when it came to our family. Of course I don't see my Mom as this way either so maybe it's a view that many children take of their parents if they've been lucky like me.
I worry though as to whether my own kids say the same about me.
I would like to hope so but have doubts as I see this trait as at least a partial failing of myself. Luckily I still have time to strengthen this quality in myself in the years ahead.
More than anything, my Dad was a man who believed in the Quality of his work. He was a bricklayer and the walls he built were symbolic of the man. A brick or block wall is more stable than any of kind of wall. It is dependable and modest. The wall may seem rough but if you rub your finger across the mortar joints you'll find a surprising smoothness that has a soft texture to it.
Since his death I often wonder how he would feel about the Post-9/11 world. He was an ardent Union man and Democrat who would have highly cynical of anything coming from the Bush Administration. I would expect to see him as angry as we all were after 9/11, but not blinded by the lines coming from Washington, DC in the aftermath of that tragic day. I could also envision his enthusiasm and hope if he were alive today in what Barack Obama has brought to the this year's election process.
The photo to the right was taken in January of 2000 and was probably one of the great moments for my family. My brother, J, and his family made up some reason to fly up from Dallas for a visit. The remaining three sons were already in the area and had planned a surprise 50th Anniversary Party for my Mom and Dad.
The photo was taken just as they had arrived at the party and you can see the look of surprise on their faces. The day was so very special to see my parents with friends and family celebrating this day.
The weekend also marked the one year birthday of our youngest daughter, Lindsey, bringing the circle together.
My Dad was 74 when he died. The same age his Father died.
There are probably many things I still don't know about the man.
He never really talked much about his time in the service (in was in Germany after the end of combat in WWII) other than he played a lot of football. He never talked much about the fact that he almost became an architect instead of a brickmason. Instead, like the many brick walls he built, he stood silent and strong.
At his viewing after he died it was interesting to talk with several people who described him as their best friend. It surprised me to hear this because I never observed him to have all that many close friends.
My Dad truly was a wall of depth with many textures.
A toast to Dad on this Father's Day and to my kids for giving me the opportunity to be their Father. Cheers!