My Father would have been 70 today.
day always sort of sneaks up on me every year... and I'm never really
sure what to do or how to behave in order to mark the occasion.
and I only found common ground in the few years before his sudden death
in 2004... before then he was both the rock AND hard place of my life;
my greatest idol and most savage adversary in one.
I struggled to
step from within his giant shadow and forge my own identity... in spite
of what sometimes seemed to be his best efforts to stymie me.
Those dark times, strangely enough, were perhaps his greatest gift.
Coupled with every curse I muttered under my breath was a secret desire to make him proud.
thought that every mile I put between us was another brick in the wall
that would keep me protected from his disappointment at my failures...
his furious incomprehension of my chosen vocation.
I built that
wall strong and high... at that time it was probably the only thing I
did with complete confidence and clear purpose.
It took a lot of patience to do it... a careful respect for process and an organized plan for construction.
the time passed, I was less concerned about the thing itself and more
centered on how shocked he would be when he realized what I had
I'd show him.
It took almost 30 years to live up to those words.
And all it took was a simple phonecall to knock down a wall that took most of my lifetime to build.
see... the very strength and resistant resolution of my fortifications
were mortared with everything he'd ever taught me. Through his
challenges to my calling... his unflinching demands for integrity and
achievement... he had inadvertently engineered my drive for success.
Surely he had wanted an easier time for me, a more elevated career
perhaps... but in spite of his heavy-handed efforts and my willful
disobedience... he had successfully molded me into a responsible adult.
said to me that he'd always thought I'd come home with my tail between
my legs... asking for his help... and that when those things never came
to pass he finally knew me as a man instead of just his oldest son.
I wish I'd had the forethought then to tell him that my Father taught me better than that.
I miss him.