I have to admit, I did get a little teary-eyed.
This last Tuesday I brought my kids to Midway Airport to visit their grandparents in Georgia. Darcie, my wife figured she’d be a hot teary mess when it was time to say goodbye so I took the job. I did great. I kept the kids busy and entertained and when they announced boarding we scurried to the door the way unaccompanied minors are supposed to do. The agent at the door took all three and headed down the ramp to the plane as we waved goodbye and blew our kisses. I made it, I did the job, and as soon as they were out of sight I got a little emotional, nothing big, nothing my sunglasses couldn’t hide.
I watched the plane take off and headed back to the car to begin my two weeks without children, my children. It’s the first time in ten years that I didn’t have at least one of my children near me, by my side. I was amazed at how powerful that simple fact hit me. And then I thought to myself, when my kids go to college I am going to lose my shit for sure.
Sometimes it takes a moment like this to see your life with complete clarity and understanding. For most of my life I thought of myself simply as a nice guy, a good friend, a brother and son. You grow up and you see yourself as a boyfriend, a student and eventually a (fill in the blank for whatever profession you choose). Me, I was an artist. I went to art school, got out and worked as an artist for thirty years. It’s what I did, it’s who I was. Until October of 2005 when everything changed. Everyway I saw myself changed. Ava was born October 7th and that day was the beginning of my transition from everything I thought I was into a father. I don’t think I knew it back then, or at least understood it, but that day was the best day of my life.
If you’re not a dad, you can’t understand it, you just can’t, that feeling of total, pure unconditional love. When nothing will ever mean as much to you as the well being of your children. I imagine it’s not this way for every dad, I know there are some really shitty fathers out there. But for me, for my friends that are dads, it means everything, to have a child call you dad is truly one of the greatest honors and feelings I’ve ever experienced.
So this father’s day, missing my three beautiful kids, I find myself thinking of my dad a lot. And I think what a wonderful, beautiful human being he was, how lucky I was to have him as a father. I think about how much he loved his children and how much fatherhood meant to him. And I wish I could tell him all these things and thank him for being my dad, for doing what he did to be a dad, for all the sacrifice and work. I want to hug him and laugh and cry with him about all the things that fatherhood does to a man, how it can steal your naivete and innocence and replace it with a lifetime of worry and concern. I want to share with him all the experiences that have brought me to my knees and humbled me and made me a better man. I want to tell him how much I love him and miss him and let him know that his love and compassion live on within me and my children. But he’s gone I can’t do that. So instead I’ll embrace my children and tell them how much I love them and shower them with kisses. But I can’t do that today either. But in a week and a half I can. And believe me, it’s going to be the best feeling in the world.