My father's son

I'm feeling somewhat meditative on this Father's Day morning; slow, methodical, peaceful.  I get up at 5:30 am this days, for no other reason than it's time to get up.  In the last year, my waking up time has slowly but surely become earlier.  I love this part of the day when the house is still, my family nestled in their beds in the deepest phase of their sleeps. I love the sounds of the birds in the back; they start their songs at about 3 am at this time of the year.  I love the possibility of the day that lies bountiful in front of me during the early hours.

Dylan has started a casual job operating the board at one of the radio station companies in town.  All of a sudden we're having conversations over the dinner table about "breaks", "splitters", and "cut-ins" while Heather looks completely lost.

"Like father, like son," wrote one person on Facebook.  "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," wrote another.

Both boys, Dylan (18) and Ben (14), have absorbed parts of me, in very different ways, as I have absorbed parts of my own father, as he undoubtedly did with his own father, my grandfather.  This is the nature of families, and the essential responsibility of fatherhood: our children will model us, whether we intend or want them to or not.

Heather sent me a text yesterday asking if I want to join her and a few friends at the pub for a mid-afternoon visit.  I had quite a reaction to the suggestion, as all I really wanted to do was stay at home and putter around the yard on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  I couldn't bear the thought of giving up my quiet domestic bliss for even an hour out in the world. Contentedly cutting the lawn, ardently straightening out around the backyard, and firmly choosing to stay close to the nest, I've become my father.

I recognize my father in myself all the time.  While he prefers to stay close to home, he is very social.  He loves a good BS session, and loves to express deeply held beliefs, when given the opportunity.  He is inherently kind and feels more deeply than he lets on.  On special occasions, his deep well of emotion can bubble up and expose itself.

In committing to our Cambodia trip in November/December, I am trying to break a pattern and do something that my father resisted all of his life: long distance travel.  It has been over 10 years since Heather and I went overseas.  I'm excited for us to go through this adventure together, despite the fact that the long flight over the ocean will be a test for me.  I will need to overcome my up-until-now inability to use airplane washrooms.

My father loves to be of service to others.  Even though he is turning 82 this year, he continues to help people in his community and keep busy.  He is an excellent role model for staying active and making a difference.  Every time I cut my neighbour's lawn I think of my dad.

I am also my father's son when it comes to money.  When I was younger, I spent more of it than I had.  Now that I'm 50, it seems that the only thing I spend money on are groceries and art supplies.  How did that happen?  As a couple, we have shared values about saving and staying out of debt.  The things my dad preached about when I was younger have settled into my bones and our family.  I'm grateful for that as it has paved the way to being able to make my early retirement decision.

I'm grateful for my father and all his humanity.  I'm grateful that he phones on a regular basis, complains about gas prices and waxes eloquent about the weather.  I'm grateful that he still chooses to serve his community and his family.  He has been a great role model for me, which is probably why I don't mind when friends and family point out how we are so similar.  I'm good with that comparison.

Love you Dad!


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