Sunday, September 28, 2008

a father's pride...

Sometimes, I think about my dad, and I wonder what he'd think of me now. I wonder if he's be nervous about me going to Iraq or if he'd tell me to do this or that about my current job. When you lose a father or parent, you always wonder; would this decision or that make them proud? Even if you knew them as well as I knew my own father, without hearing it in his own voice, it isn't the same.

I was going through one of those periods recently and I am certain that the fates intervened. For my birthday, my mother sent me a card, inside which was email correspondence between my father and his boss, COL Petty. It was their discussion about my decision to apply to West Point. The funny thing about it was, as often as your parents tell you that whatever you do they'll be proud of you, it wasn't until I read those emails that it struck me how true that is. What my father wrote in those wasn't hopes that I would get in, or his dreams for my future, but simple pride in that I was even considering doing something of that magnitude (something which, if you knew me then, would have surprised you as well). He and the COL went back and forth between one another talking about their sons and how proud they were of us (neither of whom, at the time, were doing much with our lives of exceptional value).

A few days later, this weekend actually, I saw my sister who gave me a box of letters that were addressed to me, along with my father's journal. In the letters was a birthday card from my little sister relating a story of some years ago which I will re-type here:
You know, I think the last birthday I remember spending with you was when you had a little birthday party at mom and dad's house and I snuck jello shooters from the kitchen. You asked me if I did...and I lied. You were the only one who knew me well enough to know what kind of trouble I was capable of getting myself into. I guess in that way I was always more nervous to tell you things or hear your opinion than Dad's! [she drew a smiley face here] But the thing you still have from Dad is that regardless of whether or not you approved or disapproved of my choices you always loved me fully.

Unconditional love between family is something that should go without mention--it is the standard, not something special. However, simply hearing from my sister that she considers even some part of me a bit of my father living on made my heart swell and and my eye water.

I know my dad would be proud of me, but sometimes, moments like these are the closest I'll get to the tangible feeling I would have gotten from him hugging me himself and telling me so. They're beautiful and poignant and I can't thank my mom and sisters enough for helping me to remember my father, and be there for me when he can't.


Blogger Alex said...

Touching post, Adam. Treasure those boxes of letters--I think over the years you will continue to "accidentally" dig them up at just the right time.

3:46 AM  

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