I am a good father (if I don’t say so myself) and I’ve become a pretty good brother, friend and husband too.
When I was growing up, like most kids my age; I loved to run around with friends, play sports, ride bikes, swim at the neighbourhood pool and we always (come summer time) made it home by dinner.
If you haven’t met my Mom, you’d dig this lady. She is creative, organized, driven and she did a pretty good job of cooking too. Sorry Mom, it wasn’t the food that I was getting home for on time. I was getting home on time to take part in a sacred ritual that took place each week day night between6pmand 630pm. I played a critical part in this “ritual” with another person in my life and it was our show time each night just prior to dinner. The other person I refer to would walk in the front door (smiling) lay his brief case on the dining room table, he would migrate to the fridge and hammer down a beer, deliver hugs to 4 other people and then “we” (this dude and I) would head up stairs for the nightly ritual of changing clothes, talk about my day, put on cut off jean shorts and a t-shirt and then we would head back down stairs to spend time with those “other 4 people”.
The summers rolled along and those “adventures of changing clothes” slowed to a halt. I was getting older and spending more time with my friends. School became really important to me (not the academics, the social aspect…we are talking 6th, 7th & 8th grade – come on people). I made my travel soccer team, the junior high school football team, the basketball team and I even gave a whirl at running track. Soccer had always been in our family because the dude I referred to in the second paragraph coached all of my teams. He taught me how to work hard on a field, how to care about winning and how to be a team-mate, so when I tried out for the track team (not really a try out, more of…show up, put on uncomfortable running shoes and listen to the coach), he smiled because he had been a runner while growing up. My first track meet, of course, he was in the stands watching (he’d been at every other event in my life- that’s how he rolled) and I was fired up. The starter’s gun went off for the 220- I’m old enough that we ran in yards, not meters and being as lightning fast as I was, I started from lane 8. Post gun shot, I took off like a bat out of hell and I did what any other slow runner would do, I played the damn angle. I cut across 7 other lanes of running traffic and worked my way to lane 1 (and the lead) and then got passed by 7 other frustrated runners a few seconds later who knew I had just destroyed the cardinal rule of track and field, but I didn’t care. For a split second, I was winning that race and my inadvertent cheating only made the dude in the stands smile. After the humiliating bus ride back to my junior high school, he was there to offer me a hug and we laughed about how to stay in my own damn lane for the next race (my track career ended after my 8th grade season…shocker, I know).
As high school came into swing, he helped host parties, pick me up from friend’s pools (wearing very loud plaid pants and creating a bit of a drama fest, but everyone of my friends had to talk to the dude in the pastel pants). This man cried with me when I lost a friend to a heart attack our senior year of high school and he supported me when most people wouldn’t have. Here is a highlight list from high school; broken window at the basketball game, egging houses, fights at baseball fields and my all time favourite; “Mr. Furlow, there’s a man on the phone who says he has Travis… “Who is he Aaron?” “Uh, he’s a police officer”… “Jesus Christ, alright…go back to having your “sleep over” Aaron, I’ll get him.” Yep, we had some fun in high school (and by support me, I mean “ground me”, but he never beat me, which was a positive, right?
On to marriage and grown up life. He told me to always put my wife first, as he had with my mother. He supported me through my career decisions and it makes him proud of his boys to talk about career growth and life goals over 2000 calorie breakfasts on the deck in northernMichigan. His advice has generally been rejected (right out of the gate), but then it marinates for a while and then I realize how good the advice has been and I put it to work (generally solving the original problem). Through that frustrating process he could have stopped offering advice, but he didn’t…and he let me mature to a point where I now offer that same advice (maybe not with as much patience) to my children.
I am a good father, because he is. I am a good husband, because he is. I am a good son, friend, and contributor to our community, because he is.
In short; I wouldn’t be me, without him.
Happy Father’s Day Dad!