When we're kids, our parents are everything to us. They supply us with everything we need. They are Superman and Wonder Woman. All knowledge of the world comes from them. As we get older we start to rebel as we start to become our own selves. Finally we become adults (at least most of us do) and we are our own person. In that person, however, there is definitely reflections of our parents' influence. We hopefully take the good things and change the bad things. That's one reason why I never understood why teenage mothers frequently end up having pregnant teenage daughters themselves or that alcoholic fathers produce alcoholic sons. If your life was so miserable and you knew the source of that misery, wouldn't you want to change that so that your child never had to experience that pain? Then again, perhaps that's the only life that was known and so it appears that there is no other option. There is no life except poverty and abuse.
But I digress. What I started thinking about recently was my own father. Who was the man who took care of me as a child? The earliest remembrances I have of him are perhaps when I was 3 or 4. I remember stroller rides. I remember waking up early in the morning and watching him get ready for work. Like I like to ride my bike to work, he liked to walk the mile to work every morning. Where these thoughts came from was I realized my dad was about 42 when I have these earliest recollections of him. He was as old as I am now when I started to learn about him. I found this interesting because as children we have no concept of age like that. As I said, mom and dad were always just like they were. While we grew up rapidly, they seemed to stay the same. It was only later that we actually started thinking about how old they were.
So now that I am the same age as the man who raised me, how similar or how different are we? Well, there were very few bad things in my childhood. One thing that is most noticeably different is that he was a 2 pack a day smoker of unfiltered Pall Mall. It took him 15 years to quit, but I fear the damage had already been done. No smoking for me, but I do have my beer gut that he didn't have. He did teach me great fiscal responsibility. He and my mother were both children of the Depression and were very careful of how money was spent. It served them well, however, in that there was money to send me to college and to build up a nice nest egg for his retirement. While I am still careful with money I am also not afraid to spend it on things that are pleasurable e.g. travel and good food. I did adopt my dad's temper. I get frustrated with things very easily. Another big difference was that he loved to watch sports on t.v. Me, I get bored too easily to watch a complete baseball game on the tube. I could care less about basketball and I have no interest at all in the lesser sports like golf.
What brought up this whole introspection about my dad was that I have found myself wanting to just crash on the sofa after dinner. I chalk this up to getting older. My dad used to flop on the sofa and fall asleep on most nights. This always got me mad because there seemed to be much better things to do than sleeping the evenings away. Now I find myself in the same situation. I understand now what it meant to put in 8 hours at a job and how tired the body can get especially after you pass that mystical 4-0 mark. I must learn to fight the temptation of the couch.
So with Father's Day approaching I think back to my dad. He raised his son pretty damn good. When I watched him die 4 years ago I made it a point to make sure there were no things left unsaid. Perhaps that's why I don't mourn his passing. There was peace between us and I'm sure he made peace with the world before he went. That's the way it should be.