Fathers Day

norman rockwell dad_“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” ~ Mark Twain

It is strange how time gives us all perspective. I found myself contemplating Mark Twains quote, and wrestling with the myriad of emotions the upcoming Fathers day stir’s in my soul.

 Stumbling across the quote recently, helped me put some old and new feelings in their proper context and led me to a new found truce with my own demons and an understanding of demons past, present & future.

 I was raised by a single mother for most of my life. A Father was something of a mystery. I had one, he just manifested in the form of the occasional card and an old photograph taken in happier times. (I want to be very clear I have no complaints; it wasn’t as though he were a deadbeat dad. (The Air Force mandated as much, as I leaned later in life) My childhood was a damn happy one and my mother did a terrific job raising three kids on her own). I am not seeking some kind of therapy or sympathy, just pointing out the rather awkward feeling I and Millions of other‘s must feel on this day.

As I grew I observed other households where a father played a prominent role, or so I believed. It didn’t strike me as though I were missing much.

Not until much later in life did I realize the contributions of the father in a “Normal” family. Or even the massive contribution of a male figure in an “abnormal” family.

  My Mother ultimately remarried. A wonderful man. I learned many things from Walter. Mostly I learned unconditional love & devotion to a family be it right or wrong. I learned man sized responsibility and life’s wonders and possibilities. I was treated to much love and laughter. Never completely understanding the difficulties of being a step parent, until years later when I myself had step children. I can only hope I learned my lesson well and showed my step children the same unconditional love I Received. You live each day in me and with me Walt. I love you.

 It has become clear to me I owe a debt to many men who knowingly or unknowingly, mentored and provided me guidance all these years. My Uncle’s Bill & Gene. Who were there in my younger years. I owe my long standing love of baseball to my uncle Bill & his son Billy, my first coaches. Thanks to My uncle Gene, I spent time in his household and was treated like one of his own, or the fifth son.

 To all the Teachers, professors and employers who spent time and took a chance on a young man. I realize I owe a huge debt of gratitude. I learned much about life and the ability to earn a wonderful living. I thank them all.

 I owe a great debt of Gratitude to my uncle Wayne. He has quietly been there through thick and thin. I have had the absolute pleasure of seeing the impact of a Father as I enjoy my cousins and their families now as an adult. There is no greater testament to a man than the legacy he passes to the younger generation. Wayne you did a hell of a job. I love you and am forever grateful. I don’t say it enough. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out I learned the lesson of risk versus reward from Wayne Campbell. I risked being popped on the head with hard bar of Turkish Taffy when I messed with him and my aunt. The rewards were the pieces of broken candy he shared with me. I will never forget that or the kindness you have always shown me.

   Rick. I see the role you play in raising your two boys. The influence of fatherhood must be instinctual. You are everything you never had as a Father. I admire you greatly.

And last but not least my own Father. I never understood until recently. I have come to enjoy my step brothers and the relationship we have developed. In them I see myself and ultimately you. I admire you taking care of your mother in her elderly years. I regret not knowing you better but I understand. My God how I have come to understand. I now share with you the absentee Fathers lament.

 I am uncertain as to the origin of the day we celebrate Men and Fathers, I will be disappointed if it were invented by Hallmark. None the less I have come to appreciate it and celebrate the Intent.

 Happy Fathers Day to one and all. I find it incredible how we have all learned! And I can only imagine the lessons yet to come.


~ by onthedarkside on June 19, 2009.

6 Responses to “Fathers Day”

  1. Kevin you are a good man, cousin and friend. I agree your Mom did an awesome job.

  2. You are my hero and always will be. We all help shape what each of us of are.

  3. Excellent, Kevin! Very well put! You are a very luck man to have such great influences. And it is so true…the people we meet have a part in making us who we are…such as teachers, coaches, etc. The trick is to “weed” out those bad influences in our lives, also and still come out shining! Role models like you had will make a difference!

  4. I love this story Kevin…just read it again for a third time. Excellent.

  5. […] Another decent blogger added an interesting post today on Fathers Day Onthedarkside's BlogHere’s a small readingI admire you taking care of your mother in her elderly years. I regret not knowing you better but I understand. My God how I have come to understand. I now share with you the absentee Fathers lament. I am uncertain as to the origin of … […]

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