Anyone who knows me could probably easily guess two of the three most important things in my life – family and hockey (yes, despite what some of you believe that is the correct order!).
Family tops my list and the older I get the larger the role it plays in my life. This probably is related to that old sense of mortality (SOM for short) one begins to feel at a certain time in their life. That SOM may be realized when we reach a certain milestone on the calendar of life. For others it might be because of a certain event that hits you figuratively right between the eyes (and usually in the heart).
My SOM came about on December 6, 2005. That is the day when “pops” left our family far too early at the age of 77. I still remember the last good day I had with my dad just shortly before he passed away. It was one good day among many not so good days in his last few months on the planet. I can still picture it, me and my dad sitting in his hospital room and sharing a crossword (dad was the best crossword solver I had ever encountered and he was still sharp enough on that day to make me look silly). I still remember the smile he gave me when I left his room to go home. Days later pops took a turn for the worse as they say and shortly after shuffled off the mortal coil and took his place in heaven. I am certain he is still playing crosswords somewhere up there in the great beyond.
Some people say they never had any regrets in life. I find that very hard to believe and very cold indeed. I miss my dad every day and still regret not being there to hold his hand, say goodbye and tell him that I loved him on the day he died. Regrets are part of what makes us all human.
Me and my dad were not buddy-buddy close like you see in those Hallmark-type commercials but I loved him just the same. Even though most of us love our parents despite their flaws (yes, the idea that my father was “Superdad” wore off at a young age) we usually vow to change the way we raise our kids in some way.
The big item on that list for me is to make sure I make as much time for my kids as a I can when they are young. Some people believe that a singular focus on their career will be the road to a better life for their kids. Hey, I am not knocking those people, I get it, they believe their road to happiness in life is paved with new cars, big houses and expensive clothes. For me life is about experiences which lead to memories. I don’t know about you but usually when I remember the family car my parents had at any given time it usually goes hand-in-hand with a family memory (yes, there were some memories tied to the family car in my teen life but I will leave those untold to protect the innocent!).
I hope when my kids get older they will have a figurative box overflowing with memories of their childhood and hopefully many will bring a smile to their face (or maybe even make them laugh). For me the old phrase “I will sleep when I am dead” has taken on new meaning as a parent. I love Drake and Daniela more than life. Like my dad I do have some issues putting it into words sometimes but I believe as a parent that actions do indeed speak louder than words. I hope when both of my kids are old enough to make the connection that they will understand that saying “I love you” does not carry the same weight as showing it. I also hope that they understand that by me being there and being active in their lives that this speaks louder than screaming “I love you” from the highest point in the city.
If you are a parent go give your kids a hug right now and make plans to create more great memories. For the rest of you take the time to pick up the phone and call mom and/or dad and maybe reminisce about a happy story involving your parents from when you were a kid. The fact that you recall that nugget of happiness from your childhood will speak volumes. Oh, and if you are like me and have difficulty expressing your feelings in words you can throw in an “I love you” when you sign off the call.
Love you dad.
One Dad With a Blog