My dad embarrassed me a lot as a kid. He probably didn’t know it. At least I sure hope he didn’t.
It was his age that bothered me. He was much older than my friends’ dads. I was the sixth child he brought into the world…his last…and there were times when I felt every one of the 45 years that separated us.
And yet now I’m the one who’s embarrassed. Ashamed to admit that I chose then to ignore all the things my dad did for me, and instead focus on the gap of time between us. What did I miss because of it?
The truth is that I may not have ever existed without those 45 years. A lot of things needed to happen during that time. He was still in his first marriage and had yet to meet my mom. She was still in her first marriage too. Other kids, my half siblings and one full, still needed to be born and raised during that time. And then finally, the timing was right for me to enter this world.
And that timing was perfect too.
I grew up with great friends, went to college, and met my eventual wife…all because 45 years separated me and my dad.
And now, as I look back, I don’t recall my dad ever acting like he had 45 years on me. It amazes me how much energy he exhibited. For the longest time, I didn’t even know he went off to a second job after I went to bed, cleaning offices just to make our ends meet. And when I wanted to be a pitcher on my baseball team, he used to read book after book on how to pitch (he grew up a catcher) and then spent hours with me after work practicing—crouching down again and again to catch for me. And when our cars broke down, he didn’t take it anywhere. He got under it, patching it together or replacing the bad parts if we had the money to do so.
He was nothing to be embarrassed about, and he still isn’t.
Today, I compare it to my own life. I met my son when I was 38. Not all that much younger than my own dad was. And there are days when I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally feeling every bit of that age gap. Kids are exhausting! Sorry, just one kid is exhausting for me at times. And every time I get worn out, I think about my dad and all he did. It makes me love my dad all the more, abolishing any ounce of embarrassment I ever harbored.
So Dad, happy Father’s Day today! Thank you for not being too embarrassed to be a new dad at 45! Thank you for modeling love to me every day. You didn’t just talk it, you walked it…you cleaned it…you caught it…you fixed it.
I love you, Dad!