Posted tagged ‘fatherhood’

A Father’s Day Story

June 18, 2017

buddyWhen my Dad got out of the service, we moved to small apartment on the Boulevard in New Haven, Connecticut.   As I recall, it was a refurbished Army barracks.  My mom told me that when the wind blew, you could feel it through the walls.  I am fortunate to have some pictures of our years there but my memories of the Boulevard are sparse and dimly lighted.   I do remember them as good times.   There were tons of kids to play with, my parents had lots of friends (many of whom they kept touch with through most of their lives) and there was lots of space to play baseball or tag on the apartment grounds, even if it was mostly dirt.   What more could a kid ask for?

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Old Softies

June 16, 2017

bud and dadTwice a week, I find myself in rooms with many men who grew up with difficult, even abusive fathers, men who say things like, I know my father loved me, even if he couldn’t show it.   I am fortunate to have had a father who made it clear that he loved me, more often by his actions than his words.  Was he difficult?  Not by the standards of my friends in those rooms.  Still, he could be a strict disciplinarian with a quick hand (as was the nature of discipline back then) and he had a tendency to push me toward being better by pointing out the things I didn’t do well instead of my successes (also more common back then).  He was a man of few words.  My uncle once said to me, Your Dad doesn’t have much to say but when he does, he sure knows what he’s talking about.   Dad wasn’t given to emotional or philosophical discussions … that was the province of my Mom.  No one ever called my Dad a Softie and if they had, he’d likely have considered it insulting. (more…)

Enclave

March 30, 2017

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I am most often a grateful person who can look to the good things that life has given me instead of focusing on the difficulties.  That is not an ability I was born with, in spite of the fact that I am the son of a woman who could do exactly that, even in her later years when the effects of diabetes were making her life harder and harder.   Fortunately, pragmatic optimism and an attitude of gratitude can be learned … my particular education came in the rooms of a 12-Step program but I am sure there are other places it can be found.  However, for the last few months … and in particular, the last few weeks … issues with my adult son have dragged me downward.   A clash of lifestyles made it necessary for us to (finally) push him out the door and this week, after several false starts, he moved out … not, of course, without some nasty arguments with us on the way.  To say life at home has been stressful is an understatement and it certainly doesn’t end with his moving.  He is still our son and still on our minds. (more…)

Departure Day

March 29, 2016

mountainsYesterday was Departure Day for our eleven day visit with our daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids.  That is the most time we have ever spent under their roof, which to some may not seem like a big deal, but for my wife, Muri, and I it was.  We are a strong-willed bunch, from the the oldest (that would be moi) to the youngest (that would be sweet but strong-willed Savy girl).  Muri and I have always needed alone time (that would be quiet alone time) even from each other, a need that seems to get greater as we age.  That is hard to come by in a house with three beautiful, rambunctious and chatty children, not to mention their chatty mother.  And we all know how seniors love their routines, don’t we?  And how they get grouchy when their routines are interrupted or unavailable.  So, in spite of how anxious we were to see those grandkids, we approached the week with some trepidation.  Did my daughter and son-in-law felt the same way?  You’ll have to ask them. (more…)

Cheering

March 19, 2016

cheerIt is interesting to me how things I said to my children as a father with Younger Eyes comes back around to Older Eyes via his grandchildren.  Recently, my grandaughter, Savannah, joined a competitive cheerleading team, The Elite Academy Heat.  Originally, my daughter enrolled her in dance but Savy wanted to cheer.  This week, we are here in Utah visiting and we got to see Savy’s team compete.   As we were waiting, Savy asked her Mom, Why didn’t you do cheer, Mommy?   My daughter told her a fact I hardly remembered … Papa said I couldn’t.  Hmmm.  She then leaned over to me: Don’t you remember?  You said you thought girls should do something more than stand on the sidelines cheering for boys while they play sports.   Oh, yeah, I remember that guy … in fact, I’m still him.   But Savy loves cheer (as cheerleading is called these days), and her team isn’t cheering for anyone … they are competing against other teams.  I guess Older Eyes can live with that.   My daughter couldn’t resist adding one more bit of information.  You know the high school cheer team did this kind of comptetition in the off season.  I guess Younger Eyes was wrong.  Nothing new.
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Gray

January 5, 2016

I awoke early today to the sound of raindrops on our roof and stumbled to the bathroom where they beat a staccato beat on the plexiglass skylight above our vanity.   Fortunately, I was able to fall back to sleep … the Fitbit HR my daughter and her husband gave me for Christmas has been giving me hell for not sleeping enough but today, it was satisfied.   Somewhere in its software, it says that six and a half hours sleep is enough for an old guy.   The rain was still falling and outside it was gray … the same way I felt inside.  There were discussions to be had and I was expecting the worst.    My first sponsor, Don, used to tell me, Bud, don’t always expect the worst.  Things are just as likely to go well as badly.   Today he was right.  Things went as well as could be expected.  Where I expected confrontation there was calm.  Sadness instead of anger.  So, now, I’m sitting in the park, collecting myself and watching the storm lift, at least until the next one rolls in tomorrow.  El Nino, you know.  It’s beautiful in its own gray way.

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Dad and Veterans Day

November 11, 2015

In 1942, my father quit high school and joined the Army Air Corps, in spite of having been accepted to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the fine engineering school in Troy, New York. It was a story he repeated many times with regret … I thought I was a big shot, was the only explanation he ever gave.  I know enough about Dad’s father, Arthur, to think that my Dad just needed to get away and that the Army was the quickest out. In a time when going off to war was portrayed as heroic, it probably didn’t seem like a terrible option compared to dealing with his father. My parents were married while he was on leave, then moved to Caspar, Wyoming while he went through basic training. I was apparently conceived there. When Dad was shipped to Europe to serve a maintenance supervisor for (more…)