Today would have been my father’s 67th birthday. He passed in 1994.
Never met my wife.
Never met my daughter.
Never saw me win Teacher of the Year for the state of California or publish a book… much less 9 of them (to date).
Died at the age of 51 from diabetes. (He was a juvenile diabetic.)
In many ways the life of my father was an absolute train wreck. And the shadow he cast over my life still colors vast amounts of psychological real estate in my own world today.
And yet, to oversimplify it all as if things are all black and white, as if he was a purely calamitous influence on me wouldn’t be right. (Though tumult, he did bring.)
But man, did my dad have a great laugh. And wow, was he smart. Wicked smart. Not quite smart enough to realize that being the smartest guy in the room could be a booby trap instead of a catapult but smart enough to graduate high school 2 years early and go to law school at UPenn.
It’s over 15 years since he passed and I still find myself thinking of him, being influenced by him, seeing the lives of my siblings being influenced by him so, so frequently.
Does the son ever stop being living underneath the umbrella of their father? And even if we could, would we want to? Though the pain was great, the love was great, too. I never doubted that my dad loved me but WOW, did he blow it over and over and over again.
You know, I know there are no guarantees in life but on days like today, I gotta admit, that if I only get 51 years on this planet, that would leave me with only about 8 more to go.
Geesh, if that thought won’t wake you up in the morning, nothing will. Sure brings some of this school nonsense I deal with on a daily basis into perspective though, huh?
Dads: they certainly cast a shadow, don’t they? Happy B-Day Pop.
(Note: that’s my dad’s headstone in the b.g. — it’s his mother’s headstone, my grandmother’s who just passed away this January in the foreground.)