my father, for instance, is what you’d call a “character”.
a man with an intense love for history.
an obsessive debater who’ll launch into conversation on almost any topic, and chat until the day is long gone.
he’s just a one and only.
as a child, he was a pretty stern figure. he ruled family matters with a raised voice and hot temper.
i remember only once as a child being spanked, and i think he probably gave it up because it made him uncomfortable; he’s not the most intimate of people. love and discipline are both very intimate endeavors.
dad pushed his three children into every activity he could, and no matter what it was we were expected to give it our all. as three white-bread, protected, and spoiled children in a community of similar children, i can only imagine we were pretty bratty a lot of the time.
dad was always the one to keep us in check.
as we got older, myself especially (i’m the oldest and only son), the push to excel definitely intensified.
but it wasn’t the typical “you have to win” kind of motivation…it was more along the lines of an “i want to see you working hard and acting like an adult” sort of thing.
as a teenager, i remember wanting space from my father so i could breath.
but i also remember a rock solid connection between us that seemed to stem from a source of respect he eventually had for me. i don’t know if it was due to my success as a soccer player, which i know he knew he was largely responsible for, or from my gradual stride into maturity.
the fighting lessened, and my decisions became mine to make. our discussion evolved from arguments to debates.
my beautiful mother, on the other hand, was the Mother Nature of our household…the wind beneath us and the emotional expression of our lives.
a petite woman with an immeasurably gigantic heart, my mother was always the one to say it straight.
the one to track our child-like emotions, thoughts, desires, and frustrations.
she was and still is the perfect mother.
mom’s affinity to children is no secret, as she commands the hearts and minds of every one of the hundreds of kids who have passed through her montessori school near our home.
but with her own children, she rarely played the bad cop.
as such, mom was always the confidante…the one i went to for support and the one i went to to complain about dad when i was young enough to fear him.
what’s hard to put a finger on is how the two of them so successfully raised three well-adjusted, smart, and emotionally comfortable people. my sisters and i all have an inner strength that could only have been molded by two such steadfast, complimentary people.
and as the oldest, i know that for periods of time, my parents struggled at their own relationship.
but until i grew up, i don’t think i realized how dedicated they were to us three kids.
to see them now…still wonderfully familiar in their ways and views and approaches, i marvel at how much i love them both for their sameness; in many ways they just are who they’ve always been.
they have this ‘traditional’ aura about them…like the world’s moved into the future but they don’t see the need to ride the bandwagon.
and yet i find myself noticing their evolution.
i find sometimes that they’re actually more in touch with the ‘future’ than people in my own generation.
from a life of slavery to three young soccer careers, piano lessons, and the like, may parents are now gradually shaping their
‘afterlife’ ‘golden years’.
i thank the heavens that i’m witness to it.
and even though i have thoughts of spending part of my future in california i know one of the main reasons i haven’t left is so that i don’t miss this coming of age my parents are experiencing.
their kids are grown, and happy.
the dog is gone.
these two wonderful people are living their OWN lives again, and it’s a world filled with art, city adventure, old friends, and the occassional dinner with their offspring.
to both my parents, and especially my father on this father’s day weekend: the opportunities you’ve given me and undying love you’ve shown me over the years are literally my everything…nothing in my very happy life is without your touch.
i love you both in every way.