June 17, 2007

My Two Fathers

Today is Father's Day, and Americans will celebrate with their families. Some are fortunate enough to spend the day with their fathers and grandfathers, while others only have memories to recall today. My good friend Joe Gandelman, for instance, just lost his father three weeks ago. Dr. Helen also points out that there are plenty of fathers for whom today serves as a reminder of the children who don't want to remain in contact with them.

I'm fortunate today, because I get to celebrate two fathers in my life. The Admiral Emeritus is still hale and hearty at 75, but he's 1500 miles away today. Normally, he's even farther away than that, because he's spending his retirement traveling the world. We catch up with Dad between trips, with plenty of new stories and adventures to recall.

Even so, Dad's always near enough to lean on when necessary. When I hurt my back last year, he and his wife flew out to Minneapolis on a couple of days' notice to spend the first two weeks after my surgery to take care of me and the First Mate. He's a great sounding board when I need advice, and that's been often. He's had my back in more than one way for 44 years, and he's been a rock for me.

The other father in my life is, actually, my son. Fatherhood came early for him, and motherhood for my daughter-in-law, but both of them immediately transformed into two wonderful and responsible parents overnight. I sometimes get a sense of vertigo trying to reconcile the teenager that he had been with the father he has become, a fairly common experience among grandparents, I have been told.

My son has been a blessing in my life that I'm certain I have not earned, but for which I am grateful. We had our share of difficulties, but we've also had many more good memories and good times with each other. He gave me my fatherhood, a role that I value just below husband, and one that allows me all the joy of being a grandfather.

Today, I'll celebrate both fathers in my life, even though both are elsewhere. I hope CQ readers have as much fortune as I do in celebrating today.


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Comments (3)

Posted by swabjockey05 | June 17, 2007 9:54 AM

Happy Father's day, skipper.

Posted by AlBee | June 17, 2007 10:06 AM

Like you, I have much to be thankful celebrating Fathers Day. Three fine childran and more granchildren.

Additionally, my wife and I will celebrate our 54th asnniversary.

A double blessing all around!

Posted by cheeflo | June 18, 2007 1:26 PM

Why do you think you haven't earned your blessing, sir?