“It’s quite natural that a boy’s father is always at the forefront of his mind. It’s hard to explain, but it can be very obsessive. You think you can at least do what your father can, and you hope that one day you’ll surpass him. For boys, a father is their most influential role model.”
– Miroku, InuYasha the Movie: Swords of an Honorable Ruler
I remember when I was a young boy, almost every time I was upset at my dad for something, I thought about when I’d grow up, get married, become a dad myself, and prove I was right by doing whatever-we-were-fighting-about better than he did. That ambition has been severely tempered over the years, partially by my many failures, partially by how I eventually matured out of my childish, teenaged angst, and partially because I’ve come to realize and appreciate what my father did for me.
I never went hungry, and never wondered where my next meal would come from. Heck, for all that I was so skinny, I spent most of my meals impersonating a glutton. (heh, I’m still amused at how I surprised people with how much I could eat)
I may not have gotten everything I wanted, or at least not immediately, but I got everything I ever needed and most what I wanted, eventually. Christmas for some/many/most is an affair with just a few presents, but for me and my sisters, we had a small ocean of presents waiting under the tree after Santa Claus came.
I was one of the most uncooperative scouts you ever heard of, but he still took me camping every month, with my friends, and tried to teach me useful skills, especially ones which, in dire situation, could save my life. Heck, he did save me that one time as a very little boy when I jumped into a lake or river or whatever it was, because I was trying to impersonate the Loony Tunes.
He owned (and still owns, at the moment) his own small business, which he worked hard at every day. He gave my older sister a job when she was still in high school, and he dragged me away from Saturday morning cartoons to work in his warehouse. He taught me the value of work, and earning every penny I got. We lived comfortably because of his honest work.
No matter what fuss I ever raised, he never raised his hand to me, or to anyone that I ever heard of. He always tried to talk to me/us when things were going wrong. Not that we always listened or really talked to him in return.
Sure, he was never perfect, as I seem unable to forget, but he did his best, and he did not do too badly. My sisters both turned out very capable and strong, and I would be a fool to ignore his part in that. And me? I have my good points and not so good points, but I credit the former to both my mother and my father.
Honestly, as much as I’ve always wanted to surpass my father, I fear I may never truly be even half the man he is. (let me head off the reassurances by saying that I’ll be all the man I am, instead) I will happily settle, now, for being his equal.
It is no bad thing to be the equal of a good man.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I love you.