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Because of them…

In Family, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on June 21, 2010 at 7:27 am

Father’s Day has always been a bit bittersweet for me because I’ve never gotten the chance to celebrate it with my father and my kids, being that my dad passed away about a year before my oldest child was born.  When I lived in New York, Father’s Day always began at my father’s graveside as my mother and I would quietly ponder…“what if he had lived long enough to be around these kids?” Things would surely be different, and Father’s Day wouldn’t start off on such a somber note.  Unfortunately, there are times in life when we must live with the hand that we have been dealt…painful as it may be.

My father was one-of-a-kind.  He was always there to bring a smile to our faces with a story that we’d heard many times before, a goofy joke or a silly face.  He knew how to have fun, and he taught it to my siblings and me on a regular basis.  I know that he would not want me to spend the day mourning his loss instead of being there in the moment and having fun with my kids.

Yesterday, I didn’t have a choice but to live in the moment.  In my heart, I wish that I could have started the day by visiting his grave as I have always done since he passed away.  But it wasn’t possible being so far away.  So I decided to do the next best thing, and lose myself in my kids and have fun.  I can’t say that he wasn’t on my mind during the day, but I didn’t let it take away from the time spent with the kids.

We started the day by having breakfast together.  Nothing elaborate…just some bagels and juice.  After breakfast, my son and I played an awesome game of Madden 2010 on Wii.  It was back and forth all game.  He beat me with a long touchdown with no time left on the clock.  He and I both agreed that it was the most fun game that we had ever played against each other.  Although I tried my best to win, I was actually happy that he won in such dramatic fashion.  After all, the true joy of fatherhood comes from seeing happiness on your kids’ faces.

When our game ended, I went to check my e-mail, when my little one dragged me by the hand to come and dance with her during Yo Gabba Gabba.  It was very silly, but the smile on her face and the happiness in her eyes made it all worthwhile.  When the show ended, I asked her to take a bath so that we could go out to lunch, but she said that she would only do so if I played games with her while she took her bath.  The spirit of my dad must have taken over me without me even knowing it, because I was goofier than usual with her.  As we played, her infectious laughter echoed in the bathroom.  It was a sound that I know would have been music to my dad’s ears.

Once we were all ready, we set out to go to lunch at P.F. Chang’s.  I had never been there before, and I thought that Father’s Day would be a good time to try it.  In the back of my mind, I had a hunch that it was going to be very crowded, and that there would be a long wait to be seated.  My hunch proved correct, so I decided to take the family to a local burger place that I had tried on my own one day.  Aside from the incredible burgers, we also shared some milkshakes.  Needless to say, the kids were not at all disappointed that P.F. Chang’s was crowded.

When we were done with lunch, it was too hot to be outside, but too early to head home to spend the day in the house, so I decided to take the kids to the bookstore (our favorite local hangout).  Surprisingly, we were able to grab three of the big comfortable chairs which are almost always taken.  We sat and read for a while, enjoying our day together.   When the man sitting in the last of the comfortable chairs saw my son and I looking at a book about Tony Romo, he told us that Tony Romo was sitting in the chair that I was sitting in just an hour before.  My son’s eyes lit up, and I felt really bad that we didn’t get there earlier in the day (even though we had no plans to do so).  I just know how much it would have meant to him to meet the quarterback of our favorite team.

Shortly after hearing about Tony Romo, my wife got a call on her cell phone letting her know that the specialty market across the street from the bookstore was selling black and white cookies (something that we had looked for, but had been unable to find since moving to Texas).  Even though we had already indulged on milkshakes with the kids, we weren’t going to pass up on the chance to get our hands (and mouths) on black and white cookies.  The kids loved them.  My wife and I thought that they fell considerably short of what we were used to in New York, but it didn’t matter.

When we got home we took the kids to the pool.  A perfect way to end a great day.  After spending a few hours hanging out and playing at the pool, we went back home to have pizza.  Clearly, this Father’s Day was not about eating healthy, but that’s ok.  Without planning it, we ended up eating a lot of my father’s favorite things.  If he had been here with us, he would have loved this day.  And though he couldn’t be here physically, he was with us in spirit.

Because of my father, I learned what being a great dad is all about.  All of the little things that he did have stuck with me far beyond his time on earth.  Because of my father, my kids are getting to experience many of the same joys that I did as a kid.  Hopefully, they will look back on these days with the same fondness that I do on my childhood.

If not for my kids, Father’s Day would be a much more difficult day to deal with.  Because of them, I get to keep my father’s spirit alive, while giving them a chance to experience the love of a man that they (sadly) have never met.  Because of my father, my son and my daughter, yesterday was a great day.  And for that, I’m thankful.

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  1. Very nice bro. I miss him too. Always tan (haha) and always shouting encouraging words from the “bleechers”. God Bless!

  2. Love, love and more love this! The picture says it all, and they are so adorable. XOXO

  3. Adam – I loved this post. I had some similar thoughts this weekend about my grandfather. As you may recall, he was really my “dad” when I was growing up. I hate to admit that I have never eaten a black and white cookie before, although I am now motivated to do so. I am jonesing for Cowboys football to start.

    On another note, I miss talking to you. I’m glad to see that your family is doing well.

  4. Nice story Adam, I’m sure it’s with such mixed emotion that you spend this day. I’m glad you’ve grown to appreciate it in both ways.

  5. I hear ya. My father dies long before I was even married. I think the same things on days like this.

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