On Father’s Day, I found myself thinking about being a dad and the privilege this represents and at the same time I think of being a son and all that this means. This past weekend, I felt keenly what it is to be a son and simultaneously, a heightened sense of what it means to be a father. Let me explain.
On Saturday our son Jackson graduated from high school. I know Lynda and I both anticipated that it would be an emotional day and it was. I routinely tear up at weddings and funerals and now I can say with certainty that I tear up at high school graduation ceremonies. As a parent it is gratifying to see one’s child thriving and healthy. At a graduation ceremony, parents sit with the deep dawning of this liminal moment that came upon us so quickly. Undoubtedly a new beginning for our children, it somehow marks childhood’s end for us.
As Jackson received his diploma, the teacher at the microphone announced that Jackson ‘would like to thank his parents’. This message was received and profoundly appreciated. Sometimes folks refer to their kids as ‘mini-me’ but they are in fact a clever combination of both parents, and grandparents and all their ancestors’ DNA. Jesse has my father’s blue eyes and his mothers, as well as my mother’s perseverance gene and my father’s heightened powers of observation. Jackson has my green eyes and his mother’s nose and feet :-) as well as her smarts. Both boys have inherited a strong and abiding curiosity and sense of wonder.
I am proud of my sons. I am a son who knows that his father is proud of me, and so it goes. I have striven to be a good son all my life. I do embrace it as a duty and responsibility but not in a burdensome way-like being a father, being a son is a privilege.
My father has been embarking on a new chapter at the age of 93. Three weeks ago, he moved from his home province of Quebec to British Columbia and this has meant that we are able to share an ongoing connection of three generations for the first time. This has all evolved so quickly, one of those unexpected opportunities and challenges that life presents from time to time.
This move has meant that we were able to celebrate with him on his birthday last Wednesday, have him share in the pomp and circumstance of his grandson’s high school graduation and be together for coffee on Father’s Day. Our hearts are full.
On Father’s Day, I usually send a shout out to the dads in my circle that I admire and respect and my dad is of course, included in this group. I didn’t get these messages out this year but I know these fathers know who they are, and perhaps some of these words from my journal will resonate with them.
Happy Father’s Day each and every day, Peter