Yup, it’s Father’s Day weekend. I haven’t done a Father’s Day post in a while, so it’s high time. This year, like every one I’ve been on this earth, I am blessed to have my Dad with me. And, as I’ve often recounted and will do so again, just the one Dad is enough.
Regular readers know I have two Moms; Mom and Stepmom. Both have a large impact on my life and the way I live it. Mom is gone since 2002, but she’s still around, guiding decisions and attitudes.
My Stepmom is still here, beset by physical and medical challenges, but still inspiring and thoughtful. Both are treasures of love and valuable lessons.
Mom did get remarried for a brief time, but no one talks of that blip. And, since I never got married myself, there’s just the one Dad. Believe me, just the one Dad is enough.
Because, you see, my Dad is like twenty dads. Not just the heroic ideal (“he has the strength of twenty men!”), but in the Sybil-like or Hydra-like way he can be so many different Dads.
To name just a few, here’s a brief peek at my one Dad:
The aged Dad – Not aged as in age, although, hitting 89 this year, he is that. But, more to the “wizened sage”, he of the imparting of wisdom.
The creation of grandkids (my niecelings), transformed my Dad to the elemental force of Grandpa. Though the girls are now in their mid-20’s, that transformation has not waned.
Indeed, though he now (grudgingly) admits I have successfully handled my “retirement”, he shows renewed interest in lending me advice.
As if I’m going to follow it now, after he has shown me…
The stubborn Dad – Oy. As if we don’t have enough problems with some of the other Dads, this one is the worst. Or best, depending on how you view him.
This is the Dad that refuses to acknowledge the reality of his age and therefore some of the perils of it. So, he delays things like checkups, emergency calls and, you know, telling his son what’s going on. Just in case.
He’s also the one that will insist on a particular date (say a birthday) despite others around him pointing out it’s wrong. On the plus side, he does apologize when (finally) being proven incorrect.
Dad has blessed me with pieces of this trait, especially when dealing with him, which can be a problem for everyone else. Most acutely when it combines with…
The nudnik Dad – Many a person I know has wondered about my special talent, nay, superpower, for annoying people. I claim innocence…it’s a genetic gift from this specific Dad.
This is the Dad that sits next to me while I am driving the family to some destination and routinely criticizes (1) my driving speed, (2) my driving route and (3) my inaction in beeping or otherwise gesticulating at doofus drivers on the road.
He’s the Dad that will get into a conversation with me and poke. Or disagree on minutiae on a particular discussion point.
And, since I’m his son (and old now), I give him as good as he gets. Woe to those in the car with us. It’s a conversation that can easily last the trip and possibly continue at the destination.
All his fault, of course. Because, he’s also the last Dad we’ll talk about today…
The little kid Dad – Dad is 89 going on 14.
It’s true. He’s just a kid. He’ll tell goofy jokes. To anyone.
In a restaurant, he has a shtick when the waiter or waitress comes by to pick up the check. He doesn’t let go. That’s right, they try to get the bill and the credit card and he gets in a tug of war with them. Then he slaps his hand and lets them take it.
He does it every time. It’s funny, no doubt, but really juvenile. Kind of like…um…me.
Another thing my friends and acquaintances can now go “Aha!” about.
Dad is gregarious to a fault. He will talk to people in line, at other tables and, really, just about anywhere. I’m pretty close to that, but have not yet mastered the skill of interrupting total strangers eating peacefully at their table in a restaurant.
To his credit, where able, he still does physical comedy, too. In short, Dad’s not just a kid at heart, he’s also one in action.
My Dad and I have always gotten along. We have our moments, as all kids and parents do. But, even those few times when I was really mad at him, I’ve never been so mad not to love him. And, there are plenty of things we’re still learning about each other. As detailed to the side.
Sometimes, these days, when I see a moment when he looks all of his nine decades, I feel a pang. I know this wonder I have cannot be around forever and that dampens my eyes.
But, I simply switch immediately to a goofy or silly or even stubborn Dad memory and the darkness is beaten back.
He’s so many Dads in one, but he’s just one Dad.
And on this Father’s Day, as with every day, just the one Dad is enough.