Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day Dilemma

Father’s Day is this coming Sunday and I planned to spend the weekend much like any other weekend, except that the focus is now on me.  I had planned to take my usual Saturday walk / run in the park and participate in the Sunday morning conditioning class at 9 am.  On our 43d Anniversary I made plans to participate in the Texas Senior Games (see February and March blog archives) and Iris has reminded me that this was “our” day several times since.  My wife says this in an off-handed manner, she is glad that I am healthy but with a hint of displeasure.  In my defense, we did spend the rest of the day (not working) together for lunch and dinner out.  I had it all.  Me and Us.

Back to Father’s Day.  This week I am faced with another crisis.  I have a Sunday morning exercise class which means our Father’s Day brunch at home will be later in the morning.  And all the preparation will be left to my wife.  My sons and daughter-in-law won’t come early enough to help.  She’ll be on her own.  I definitely will be helping her shop and prepare on Saturday, after my morning walk.

My Father and Father-in-Law are both long gone and I want to say something about them.  First, thank you to both.  Both taught me the value of hard work by example.  My father passed before my 28th birthday and specific memories are hard to pull up in detail.  I don’t remember long conversations with him.  I do remember some of his actions that moved me along.  

He punished me once by taking my bicycle away; eventually I earned it back but it took a long time.   I was stubborn and never asked for it back.  He forced me to an unwanted Bar Mitzvah, which I wish I could remember.  But something then must have stuck because I remain committed to my heritage.  He encouraged me start college, but acquiesced when I stopped school after only three semesters of poor grades.   He saw me enter the army and was proud of his son.  He was pleased when I eventually returned to college, but sadly he only lived a month past my graduation a full year before the birth of my first son. He never knew I even earned a Master’s Degree or that I moved to Texas.  His imprint didn’t seem immediate but the lessons stuck.

These pleasures were left for my father-in-law who treated me like a son.  He bought me two suits for my marriage to his daughter.  Helped me through college, saw his grandchildren, moved to Texas for his final years and for a time worked with me.  Both my sons remember him fondly.  

I loved both of these men.  What would they do when faced with my current dilemma?  I feel like a guy with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.  Exercise or stay home?  Do what I want or help?  My father probably would be sitting in the living room waiting for my mother to bring him a coffee and the Sunday paper while he watched TV.  My father-in-law didn’t drink coffee; but I visualize him doing the ironing while my mother-in-law prepared a delicious, ten-thousand calorie meal.  

Find out how I resolved this issue in a few days.  I’ll be interested to see how it all turns out.  To read more click on "Read More" below.

My youngest son joined for my Saturday morning walk.  The older son earlier had thought he might join us but since we saw him Friday evening he backed out graciously.  Both boys stepped up willingly and offered to come early to help their Mother.  As it turned out little help was needed, but they came through for the one preparing the brunch.  Brunch by Dad wouldn’t have tasted as good. 

Deer during our Saturday walk photo by Mark L

I went to my Sunday morning exercise class.  Most of the regular participants were probably at some Father’s Day event because the class only had six attendees.  One of the women was puzzled and said it is not Father’s Day in Brazil (I guess her home country).  
The boys stayed until the early afternoon.  We chatted, played with the dogs, messed with the computers and generally all of us enjoyed our time together.  As it turned out I had the me and the us of the day.  Time for myself and time for the family.
Now Iris and I relaxing before we head off later this afternoon to help serve dinner at the Wounded Warrior Center at Brooke Army Medical Center.  We can turn the day around and help someone else find some measure of comfort away from home.  Time for others.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for being an awesome father.

    I wish Nina and I could have helped more this morning, but mom had it all done.

    Have fun at Academy; I wonder what you are gonna buy?