I am going to be sentimental for awhile. Thirty-three years ago I married the love of my life. We have two sons. One son is getting married this week to a wonderful girl he met while going to university in Montana. I am now sure that I will never get him back. I guess that is the way things are supposed to work. I think back to all the time spent helping him with homework, teaching him to ride a bicycle, coaching his soccer practice, and taking him to hockey practice. All the things that dads do. It has all been about bringing him to this point. He is now on his own — an accountant at a hospital who is marrying a nurse.
I was never sure about having children. I was worried that I did not know much about being a dad. My dad died when I was fourteen — I was the oldest of five children. My mother was a secretary who did not drive. We lived in a small agricultural town and the townsfolk wanted to help. All we had to do was work. So at our father’s funeral, one of my brothers and I were offered jobs — that is how small towns are. I worked at that job until I completed my engineering degree. While my mother did her best, my brothers and sister have always felt that something was missing without our father being there.
We were not alone in these feelings. Once, while I was delivering newspapers, the wealthiest man in town stopped me and told me that we must call him if we ever needed anything. With tears in his eyes, he told me that when he was a boy his dad had died in hunting accident and that he knew what we were going through. That image has stuck with me my whole life. He knew.
My worries about being a dad evaporated when the boys came — I soon realized that being a dad just required love. I could not have had two better sons. They are now both fine young men. My father would be very proud of how they turned out. I appreciate that every day I get to do things that he never was never able to do — things like attending the wedding of his son.
I can only hope that my son and his bride will be as happy as my wife and I have been. Things were not always easy. Early in my career, I was a contractor for the US Navy, and I was away from home for long periods of time. My wife had to handle two rambunctious boys on her own. While away from home, I would often think of those two boys with their smiling, toothless grins. They were not small nearly long enough. All parents need to remember that children are only children for a very short period of time. They are gone before you know it.
My son and his bride will have their own adventures. That is the way of the world. Somehow it all leaves me both happy and sad. I guess that is what being a dad is about. For me, I will now have a daughter to love. This will be another new experience for me and I will try to cherish every moment.