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Monday, June 16, 2008

Father Knows Best

Another Father's Day has come and gone and the verdict is in- I am still a dad. What a day it was.

8:30AM- Wife's alarm goes off and the kids start to make their way to our bedroom to climb into bed with us. The Mrs. and I had just climbed into bed about 6 hours before. She was busy doing some of her Internet stuff and I was taking on my first painting job. That's right, I have gotten my first painting job; I'll hit on that a bit later.

8:30 to 9:45AM- We all ran around doing our various things that we did that passed 1 hour and 15 minutes. The kids gave me their cards that they made for me and gave me some gifts. The two gifts were pretty funny: A refrigerator magnet that says "Dad's are someone to look up to no matter how big you are." [Funny to me because my 5 year old is more than 1/5 my size] The other gift was a nylon tattoo sleeve with a pirate theme.

9:45 to 9:50AM- Climb up on a ladder and go into the attic to retrieve a big attic fan to take to my dad on our way to a family rebellion.

9:50 to 10:45AM- Shower, shave, gussy up and get ready to leave the house.

10:45AM- Hit the road and head for family rebellion.

11:30ishAM- Stop and drop the fan off to my dad.

12:30ishPM- Finally arrive at the family reunion to find only about 5 families that have shown up.

2:00PM- Folks are staring to bounce from the family reunion.

2:30PM- We bounce from the reunion

2:50ishPM- Arrive at my mom's house and start going through boxes of my crap in her basement so that I could take it home and let it sit around.

5:00PM- Start thinking about heading back home.

6:15PM or so- We finally left mom's and headed to the nearest Wendy's for some crappy fast food.

7:15PM- We roll back into our hometown and stopped for a home break before heading up to my job site to assess my paint job.

7:20 to 8:40PM- Stood around on Main Street talking to folks about all kinds of stuff.

8:50 to 10:00PM- Bathe and retire the kids.

10:00 to 10:55PM- Whatever it is we did.

11:00 to 12:15AM- Back up to job site to paint and prep some more.

12:30ishAM- Put my butt to bed.

I am sure that you, the readers, didn't necessarily need to know my complete schedule for yesterday but my aim is to give you more that what you pay for....

Some thoughts that I had yesterday:

Being a dad- I often feel that I am not a very good dad, but I have great kids who are supportive of me and make me feel better about myself through the things that they do and the way I can be there for them.

In many ways I have no idea what to do as a dad. My dad did his "best" when I was younger but it was primarily my mom that did most of our raising. And now that I am older, and at this particular junction in my life, I don't really feel that I can look to my dad for anything right now other than how to do wiring or install an air conditioner or replace my alternator. I can't really look to him for moral guidance and he's never been much of a spiritual leader either. So I do what I can, understanding that it probably isn't right, but knowing that I still need to be active in the pursuit of just trying to do it "better."

When I stopped yesterday to give the attic fan to my dad I felt really strange. I knew that he was my biological father but in many ways it felt like I was dropping something off with one of his friends. His face was now shaven. He had shaved off his goatee that morning and he looked like he had been gaining a significant amount of weight. He gave my kids each a bag of animal crackers. I could only hope that this wasn't the beginning of replacing meaningful interaction with just giving them stuff.

I want to continue to have some kind of relationship with him but right now I just don't know how.

Family Reunion- Each year they just keep getting a little bit smaller and a little bit shorter. I felt even worse that I didn't really talk to as many people as I should have; namely my very special cousin Connie. Connie is now in her 50's, possibly even 60's and she has some mental disability. She is such a sweet woman who lives in a home for handicap people. She doesn't really have any family that is very close by. She doesn't say much but when she laughs, which is often, it is contagious.

She had a brother who was also mentally handicap, Bill. Bill was a portly guy who usually wore overalls and a t-shirt of some kind. He seemed like he was a little higher functioning than Connie. He was my family reunion buddy. I would show up and he would run over and give me a big hug and we'd sit and talk and tell jokes and have a great time. Bill passed away about 10 or 12 years ago.

The thing that I always loved about Connie was that no matter what I looked like or what hair style I was sporting she could always recognize me. I would walk up and say "Hi Connie!" and she would just quietly look up and say "Hi Chris." This year was a little bit different. When I walked up to her it was from behind while she was sitting at the picnic table. I put my hands on her shoulders and leaned up over her and said "Hello young lady" and she looked up at me through my hair and looked a little confused. I then said "Hi Connie, it's Chris." She then took hold of my hands on her shoulders for a moment and said, "Hi Chris. It's good to see you."

Before I knew it she was getting ready to leave, so I went over to her and we talked for a few minutes. The last thing we did before we parted ways was hugged. Across her walker she gave me a big bear hug that was full of meaning and she said in her voice, without being propted, "I love you." "I love you too Connie" I said back. "I am very glad you came today."

My family needs to plan some trips to go spend some time with Connie. My kids could learn so much from her. We all have so much we could learn.

Moving the boxes- I had more boxes to take home from my mom's than I thought I would, but still not so many that I was overwhelmed. While looking through the boxes, mostly of books, I stumbled upon my 2nd grade year book. WOW! I used to be a 2nd grader. It was funny to look at some of the pictures and realize that I was also looking at so many people that I ended up going to high school with. I think that I could use the pictures for some good blackmail at some point in the future.

So many of those times in my life now feel like they never really existed. I don't know what happened but I kind of wish that I could have them back for a moment or two.

Painting moves me- When I returned from painting on Saturday my wife asks me how the painting went. My answer was "absolutely invigorating." It really was. It felt great to be behind the pole and running that roller again. Hopefully sometime soon I'll be throwing in the towel on the corporate job and colouring other worlds around me.

I think that's all for now.

Happy Father's Day

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