Growing up can be rough! When I listen to my brothers speak about their childhood and compare it to others… I realized we may not have had the best of childhoods or the best of circumstances compared to others… but it is mine and it helped me become the person I am today.
Being the oldest child of four I saw the things my dad went through… and the choices he had to make as a single dad of 4 kids, while serving in the military trying to keep things together. He did the best he could with what he had. Even when people he thought he could trust were quick to hurt him. Sometimes he used anger to stay focused… and when I went through my own dark days as a single parent… I understood why. Sometimes it was anger or determination that got you out of bed in a cruel and unjust world. From him I learned real men do cry… and then somehow they get up and find the strength to try and make things better…
I remember the camping trips, the family bike rides, the trips to the beach near Fort Ord… LoL taking a nap on the beach and losing the watermelon in the ocean! Learning to rappel and loving it before ever becoming a Marine. < I can’t tell you how dissappointed I was to learn that I wasn’t going to do stuff like that everyday… but I lived it up during the Jungle Warfare course in Okinawa. LoL I blame my dad for the excitement and creating a sense of high expectations in me! >
I remember he was the Mayor of Patton Park at Ford Ord when my brothers learned about calling 911… and our step mother at the time, who was also a service member, had to “quit” her job so she could stay home with us. In a single act we went from a two income family to one. Somehow my dad never brought that up or blamed our curiosity for the change in finances.
I remember when times were hard he would take us to the toy aisle to allow us a chance to touch and play since he could not afford it. I saw the pain in his eyes when it was time to move on. We finally stopped visiting the toy aisle when one of my brothers threw a fit. Instead of chastising him… dad walked away because it hurt too much.
I admit my dad was not a perfect parent, but then again… which of us really are? We may not have had every worldly possession that our little hearts desired but we were provided for. If he didn’t love us, if he wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice or stress about it day and night, he could have put us up for adoption. It could have made his life easier.
As for me I’m pretty proud he survived 4 crazy teens eating him out of house and home… ex-wives who took lifetime and priceless possessions and sold them without ever thinking about our futures. When he choose to remarry after we left the house, I was a little worried. It turned out it was to a wonderful woman who understands him and truly values him as a companion. I couldn’t be happier for him!
Love is always a choice and I love my Dad without any reservations!
I wish him every measure of happiness on this leg of the journey… You deserve it.
Happy Father’s Day!