Fathers

It’s Father’s Day. My family spent the day together just being a family. I think that’s what I love most about birthdays and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We reserve the day just for the four of us. Today we took a walk on Sehome hill and went and saw Toy Story 3. I cried and cried. Of course I did. Most things make me cry. I don’t care anymore, nor do I apologize.

So it was a nice day just being us.

I’ve thought about my own Dad today. He died suddenly when I was thirteen, the age my son is now. I try to put Luke in my shoes and I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like for Luke to lose his father at this age. I can’t believe I did. As one of two children, Luke has had so much one on one time with his dad. I was the fourth of six children and I have maybe two memories of being alone with my father. I kept expecting that to happen. The memories I have of Dad are wonderful. He was simply an amazing guy. I know I would have really liked him if I had been fortunate enough to have been an adult and known him.

But I got lucky. Mom married another man ten years after Dad died, when I was 23 years old. Larry is one of the gentlest souls I’ll ever know. This man can read a Pooh Bear story and make you weep from the tenderness in which he tells the story. He’s smart, funny and doesn’t think badly of anyone. He’s taught me to give everyone a chance, no matter what my first impressions are. He’s loyal and forgiving. Larry is fortunate in that he’s now lived a long life and the tendrils of his love has reached through generations. He has a wide circle of friends and an even wider circle of family.

I haven’t run to Larry in times of distress like I would have had he been my biological father. And the fact that I didn’t has been even better. I have always known Larry is there for me, no matter what. I’ve had countless conversations with him over the years, all in my own head. What would Larry say? His wise council has given me advice over and over. He just never knew it. He’s been a father in the truest sense of the word: I’ve learned how to figure it out for myself, often using him as my example.

I think what I treasure most about Larry and what I’ve learned most from him is that he’s happy with who he is. He’s comfortable in his own skin. He’s been a family man, he’s had great success working at the Seattle Times, and he’s had a quiet impact on his world since he’s retired. Through it all Larry is Larry. Just being who he is. I marvel at how easy he is with himself.

I’ve spent my adult life questioning who I really am, so shaken was my foundation at the vulnerable age of seventeen, an age when one’s self-identity is developing. Now I’m fifty and it’s time to forgo the angst. Now it’s time to be like Larry, like Pooh Bear and just be who I am, in all my glory.

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