Monday, April 21, 2014
Parenting is not an easy job. Neither is staying married. Both things, done well, take a hell of a lot of hard work, slogging through vast fields of no-fun in search of those few transcendent moments that make it all worthwhile.
I'm a lucky one, in that I have a pretty remarkable example lighting the way, both as a parent and as a spouse.
My parents, pain in the ass though they were when I was growing up, actually worked pretty hard at doing the right thing and setting the right example, in everything they did.
It's my dad's birthday tomorrow, so I've been thinking about the things we did together back when I was a kid. It's funny, the memories I can conjure up, right here at my kitchen table in Jordan: building dollhouse furniture together in the garage, dropping eggs into soup and watching them cook, learning to fish and tie flies, setting up tents and building campfires, putting my pink hair clips in his hair while he tried to nap, trying to figure out how he could drive the car with no hands, learning to drive! "Helping" him fix the car, waiting by the side of the road for him to come fix the car, sitting next to him at the kitchen table trying to learn math, hiking to a faraway lake and back. And more recently: watching him play with his grandkids, still building magical things in the garage, still cooking, still explaining the mysteries of the universe to the little kids at his side.
He was always busy, my dad, between going to college and working full time and fixing up their shell of a new house. But he was always, always there when we needed him. I never really thought about it - never wondered how he managed to always be there at the right moment. But I think about it all the time now, when I'm trying to be everything to everybody and always teetering on the brink of failure.
I imagine he sometimes felt like he was failing, too. But if he felt that way, he never let on - and he never stopped showing up.
So I guess that's what I got from him. Just keep showing up. Work as hard as you can, be as kind as you can, love as much as you can.
Also: don't sleep much. I'm pretty sure I must've gotten that from him too.
Thanks dad. Thanks for always being the example that I needed, even when I didn't - or don't! - want to hear it.
I'm always trying to live up to your example. And it sure helps to have the path ahead clearly marked by someone I respect so very much.
I love you!