I know this is well after the fact, but I’ve had the chance to reflect upon Fathers Day and its significance to me as both a Dad and a son. Even though there are some who may dismiss it as a Hallmark greeting, I do think it’s an important day – but it’s not one I’ve always enjoyed (for a variety of reasons).
First, a quick recap of Fathers Day Weekend. Renee and I took Friday off from work and we drove down to Vancouver, Wash. to spend the weekend with my Dad and his wife. I’ve been wanting to get the family out of town for a while so this seemed like a great opportunity to do just that – and to spend time with my own dad.
The weather was fantastic on that Friday – in the mid-70s and sunny in the Portland area – so we had a nice drive down. The twins enjoyed my Dad’s large yards after we arrived, and they ran around exploring and had fun riding with Dad on his “tractor” lawn mower. We then took the boys to a carousel at Jantzen Beach in Portland – and Stone loves carousels. We bought a day pass for $7 and Stone ended up riding the carousel non-stop for nearly an hour. We took turns riding with him – Dad rode three times and then Renee rode another three before I rode the last three. Unfortunately, Ty was not as enchanted with the carousel – he’s been having issues with loud noises and we’re not sure what’s up with that so we’re going to get it checked out. But Stone had a blast and the special moment for me came while we were riding. As we spun around and our horses rotated up and down, I told Stone “Up” and “Down” and soon he started saying with me. But what was really great was when he said, “We go up down!” and was so excited he nearly fell off his horse! He was so proud of himself (and I was naturally proud as well). It was a moment I wish I could freeze and carry with me forever.
On Saturday we took the boys to my sister’s store in Beaverton, Penelope’s Hope Chest. She has a really great store full of unique vintage and collectible items. And while the merchandise is great for adult women (who tend to be the bulk of Lynette’s customers), it’s also very enticing for 5-year-old boys to touch (and/or break). So after buying an artificial birthday cake (that Stone broke the top off of) we cut the visit relatively short and moved on to the Portland Children’s Museum. Wow – what a great children’s museum. Housed in the old Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Portland Children’s Museum is huge – with tons of space and exhibits. The boys were a little reluctant about exploring and playing in it at first but they eventually warmed up to it and had a great time.
t was then time for me to help my Dad with a task he had asked about before we drove down – he needed to buy a new laptop to replace his circa-2003 Dell desktop. Being the Mac convert that I am, I recommended a MacBook Air for him and we went off to buy that while Renee took the boys back to the house with Dad’s wife, JoeAnn. Dad took the plunge and bought the laptop – as well as a wireless router for his new wi-fi household. We ventured home where I set up the wi-fi network and the new laptop.
I should mention that I consider myself very fortunate to have the kind of relationship I do with my Dad. As is usually the case with adults when dealing with their parents, it hasn’t always been easy and we had some rough patches to work through, but we did so and have had a strong relationship for a number of years. I have also been lucky because except for those few years of rough patch, I always have had a good relationship with Dad because we both shared a passion for sports and neither of my brothers nor sister really were into sports the way I was growing up. So we had the opportunity to bond over many Giants, 49ers, Cal Bears and even Golden State Warriors games. And to this day we still love to talk sports (especially fantasy football).
And as for my own experience as a Dad, I don’t think it’s any surprise that I love and cherish the opportunity to be a father. I truly consider it a privilege and an honor – and it’s something I try to never take for granted. There was a period of time while Renee and I were experiencing fertility issues that I really doubted whether I’d be able to be a father – and it was extremely difficult. I especially remember one Fathers Day in 2003, while Renee and I were in the middle of our treatments (and had been obviously unsuccessful to date). We took Dad and my brother George to a Giants game on that Sunday, and one of the pre-game promotional videos was a musical video salute (the Foo Fighers, “There goes my hero”) from baseball players to their dads. It featured pictures and videos of the players when they were young boys playing ball with their dads and followed their progress through Little League, etc.
Watching that video was like a punch in the gut for me. I wanted to experience those same experiences: playing catch with my sons (or daughters), watching them grow up, etc. I remember wondering if I’d ever have that opportunity and crying a bit (fortunately I had my sunglasses on) because I wasn’t quite sure.
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending as I’m now a fully occupied and engaged Dad – and a grateful son.