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Father’s Day

The clock has turned over. It’s officially father’s day. Not many think on it at 1:30am but I can’t sleep so it seems the right thing to do.

I have two girls of my own now, both beautiful in so many ways that I lose count.  They are ages 9 and 13 and I see in them promise that I’ve never felt for myself. They’ve moved so far beyond me that all I want to do is watch and learn. They are not followers. They do not insist on being leaders either. They are willing to fill the gray area in-between, and will step up when the time comes and step down when the time goes away. They have no interest in grandstanding or any interest in mopping up somebody else’s mess. They act their respective ages and as a result have all the fun heaven will allow. But they can also discover me wavering over one of those life altering decisions….and lay the pros and cons out so coherently that I feel like the child…..and look to them as my (unpaid) advisors. I claim no special powers just because I’m an “adult”. It’s when I consciously try to act my age that bad things happen. Maybe not “bad things” per se. Perhaps unspeakable tedium would be a better way to put it. There is not much worse than a 44-year-old acting his age and still trying to have fun. He resembles nothing more than a man trying desperately not to vomit after 14 Budweiser’s in 90 minutes. Age and Fun beat on each other like gongs and before you know it both are bloodied and call a truce, and all that’s left is someone at the bar hoping he can navigate the 2 mile trip back home without getting his name in the paper for a DUI. Somebody who wants to show the audience what he could do back then and could still do now….but first needs to get some pills out of a baggie and visit the men’s room. Instant youth it’s been called….and it lasts until you wet the bed or win a karaoke contest. These days I take my fun in moderation. I read. I write. I wonder. And I watch my girls grow up.

I trust both my girls. They say what they mean and they mean what they say, at least at the moment they’re saying it. They realize their relative good fortune up till now, and they seem smart enough not to take anything for granted. They know if could all change in a matter of weeks or months. The Economy (with a capital “E”)  works that way. There is no such thing as security anymore. We go to work in the morning and hope the gates aren’t padlocked. The American Dream is a little different now than it used to be. Bush pegged it when he called it the “War on Terror”, although I’m not sure this is what he had in mind.

My girls. My wife. They are my life now. Everything else is just shadow puppets on the wall. I do my best and all too frequently I’m aware that my best us not very good. So I resolve to do better that next day. But I usually don’t. Love is strange to me, even though I’ve spent more than half my life chasing it. Part of me is still frightened by love, like a child scared of the dark. We’ve all got what Lincoln called “the tired spot” deep inside us, and love means letting others in to feel it too. Sometimes that’s when the wall comes up.

But to my girls, let me say that I love you more than words could possibly convey. All the poets of centuries past and present could try, but what they’d leave behind could only be comparative gibberish. A bit like the previous 600 words or so. But still, it’s always worth the effort.

Especially today. It’s Father’s Day. My day….but that’s not true of course. It belongs to you.

In a bit..


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