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Fathers & Sons (How the Years Go By)
The month of June and the year 2010 have been very special to me and my two beautiful children for two great reasons; Both Chris and Aidan are graduates.
Chris will receive his second degree from the University of Winnipeg on Friday, June 11th, and Aidan will graduate with honors from St. Paul High School on Tuesday, June 29th.
It’s definitely special because I love my boys so much and because it marks a milestone in both of their young lives.
Chris’s choice to go to university was a pleasant surprise to me and his decision to work towards two degrees was a gift to himself and a wonderful gift in my life as his father. Needless to say, I am very proud of the man he is becoming and his accomplishments. In the grand scheme of things I didn’t expect this to go back so many years. But then sometimes life is full of pleasant surprises!
I say ‘very’ special but it’s a bittersweet time for me too because it was very unlikely that I would be alive to see my son Aidan graduate from St. Paul’s all those years ago.
It was the fall of 2001 when I first got sick. Aidan was 9 years old and in class 4 at that time. By February of 2002 I was unable to work and confined myself to either home or a hospital bed as I began the biggest struggle of my life. Live long enough to receive a double lung transplant. It finally arrived in August of 2003 and just in time. For all three of my children; Chris, Marnie and Aidan had a tough time, because Aidan was too young.
My struggle to stay alive required me to muster all the emotional, spiritual and physical strength I could and depend on family, friends, community and the medical profession for help to keep me going. Part of my process and one that has helped me a lot is goal setting. One of the goals I set was to live long enough to see my son Aidan graduate from high school. It is bittersweet because it is a time of joy and happiness but also brings back memories of dark and difficult times in Aidan’s and my life. I have achieved that goal with the help of Aedan! Chris was a bonus!
How the years go by
Many of you have children who have recently graduated from university or college and/or who will be graduating from high school this month. And to all you dads and moms out there, congratulations on all your persistence and hard work to get your kids there! They could not have done it without your support and guidance. I’m sure it’s been a labor of love for each of you. Their success is your success and moreover their celebration is yours too, so enjoy and enjoy and enjoy the good work.
My main reason for sharing some of my personal experiences and proud moments is to draw your attention too and especially to remind all the dads out there; “Father’s Day,” that these are “the moments of our lives.” These are the moments that are part of our life’s purpose and journey, that should reflect on what we value and cherish most. For our children, of course, graduation is an important milestone in their early personal growth and development.
This is a thoughtful time in our lives as we focus on how fast the years are flying by and how the true meaning of life can slip away from us if we are not careful. Think about it, by the time your child reaches graduation, most of the time spent at home will be gone, and that’s a scary thought.
He will have your help and his mother, will have lived through some significant events in his life; Of course since his birth it seems so long ago now. His first words, first steps, learning to ride his bike, kindergarten, going to grade school, playing on his first sports team, music lessons, starting high school, turning sixteen and driving, dating for the first time, finally graduating high school and going to university or college. Reaching drinking age at the same time than going.
Yes, you’re there or around the perimeter to change his diapers, wipe his nose, bandage his wounds, feed him, teach him to dress himself, tie his skates when he starts hockey, get him to practice at 5:30. I froze with joy from the stands on Saturday and Sunday mornings, soccer, basketball, volleyball, football, helped him with homework, played catch, sat through Christmas plays and pageants, taught him to drive, picked him up from loud parties. When he was drinking at school and didn’t want to drive, you reminded him of his chores, sent him to mow the lawn, shovel the snow, clean his room, the list goes on. You remember it all like it was yesterday, and you also remember that the way you parented was to instill your values, teach responsibility, discipline, and a strong work ethic, even though he probably thought your behavior was crazy at the time. !
During this period Baba often asks himself these questions; “Did I do the best I could while he was growing up, was I there for him during the tough times, did he feel like he could count on me when he needed it? Did I tell him I loved him enough, did I set him up well? Example ?” Tough questions when you think back in time you can’t recover especially if your personal evaluation lets you down.
Well, my money is on all of you and I bet despite all the distractions along the way you were never far away when needed and your son knows that about you and respects you for it.
As your son transitions to his first official job after finishing school, weddings, house purchases, grandchildren, birthdays and special occasions, it’s sure to be a wonderful time for both of you as life begins to repeat itself. Yes, the relationship between father and son is a special one and any man who decides to be a son and father is performing one of the most important responsibilities in his life so he needs to at least do it right. time Just be patient your kids will show you how it’s done. And with some luck maybe one day your son will say; “I am my father’s son,” and say it proudly. Then you will know that you have done something right for him and he will be proud only with satisfaction! I hope all your dads had a great Father’s Day this past Sunday.
One final note
I have been blessed with many things in my life and yes surprisingly, I have made some very good life choices. The best decision I ever made was becoming a father and he became a father of three; Two sons and a daughter. Over the course of 40+ years he has taught me an incredible amount about parenting but perhaps most of all about myself. I can say with reflection and clarity that my children have played a very important role in making me the person I am today. No question of being a parent has been a challenge at times but has never come with regrets.
They have taught me to be more patient and patient, they have taught me the true meaning of giving and selflessness, without expecting anything in return, sometimes what comes back is indescribable. I have become a calm and gentle person, I have learned to notice the simple things in life, especially when they are small, and find a place of peace when things around me seem chaotic.
In trying to understand my children’s needs and wants as they grow, I’ve learned that I don’t need to know it all and that I’m learning from my children at every stage of their growth. Ultimately and over the past seven years I have learned that I often pass on my best lessons to them through the example I set and my ability to simply listen.
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