Tonight I take you back to a post from August 7, 2004:
I am still responsible for three 90 year-old grandparents and two households, not to mention an infant, a 3.5 year-old, wife, mortgage, the war in Iraq and the capture of OBL. Ok, that is an exaggeration too, perhaps I am more prone to hyperbole than I thought. Baby is crying, time to run.
If you have been around since the beginning you may have read the words above before. You might have read Life Is Challenging and seen these:
It was April 30th and I caught an early morning flight to New Jersey. I got on a plane not knowing if my father would still be living when I arrived and the knowledge of all of the responsibilities left behind.
You might remember the weight I felt and how I was worried not just about losing my father but having to tell my grandfather that his oldest son had died. It was exceptionally hard telling him about my uncle’s death and the thought of having to do it about my father was crushing. I felt like the Angel of Death but I got lucky and all I had to tell my grandfather was that dad had beaten the odds and was coming home.
What Is A Father’s Responsibility?
My father’s health issues didn’t end there. Even though he made this miraculous recovery the weight of watching his own father deteriorate and slip away was too much and he let himself go.
I have been thinking about this quite a bit. Been looking in the mirror at myself and thinking about my responsibilities to myself and to my family.
Been thinking about it because dad’s kidneys are failing and unless there is some sort of miracle dialysis or a transplant are in the future.
Been thinking about it because what happens to him should be a wake up call and warning to me. I wrote about it in Do What You Were Born To Do.
Was brutally honest about my own shortcomings there. Talked about how I punished myself and shared my concerns for my father’s health and wondered if I should be pushing him to do more to take care of himself.
I didn’t because I didn’t think it would help. I believed he would have to figure it out and decide it was too important to let go. Saw him make an effort several times but he never sustained it.
And I didn’t push because I was so caught up in my own mess that I had little to give. Was hard enough to keep pushing for the kids but I did it because they deserved it.
Still part of me feels a bit guilty because I wonder if I could have made things better. Wonder if I could have given him the kick in the ass that would have woken him up.
Where Is Your Focus?
Flip through the pages here and you’ll find lots of letters to my children and lots of talk about lots of different things. You might find some goofy headlines likeÂ Cheaper Than A $5 Whore With Less Risk of Infection orÂ Jesus Hates Tim Tebow & 17 Other Reasons Why Your Blog is a FailureÂ and wonder what is going on with me but I am cool with that.
I learned how to identify and distinguish between what I want and what I need. I learned to take time to slow down and enjoy the journey and forgive myself for not being able to win every battle or overcome every challenge.
And in the process I think I have become a better father. I think my children have benefited from it all and that has always been a goal.
When I think about what I owe my children I look at what my parents have given me and think about my own father as a role model. In most ways dad has been outstanding but he has fallen short in taking care of himself and that is one thing I can’t do to my children.
It is part of why I told them that I need a minimum of 20 minutes every day to exercise because I owe them a father who is healthy and one who shows them the important of regular exercise.
And now if you come closer I’ll tell you I am really worried about my dad. I am not just a father, I am a son too.