I am a father to two sons. I still get a deep subtle rush of feeling when I hear myself called dad. I was, as the musician Ron Sexsmith sang, a late bloomer and our first child was born when I was 48 years of age.I always knew that I wanted to be a father and had a certainty that this would come to be. For a number of months in my late 20’s, I had the same dream where I had a son named Jesse. I couldn’t figure out where these dreams were coming from but realized much later that I was born when my father was 28.
Writing in my journal about Father’s Day, I recalled a reference in my artist statement for a solo photography exhibit called No Public House. It went like this:
“I was born in a dark room – not a Skinner Box but a develop and print photographic darkroom set up first in the upstairs bathroom and later more permanently in the furnace room of our family home in suburban Montreal.In the sixties photography was our exclusive father and son activity. My Dad, a career engineer is a brilliant amateur photographer still curious and engaged at 91. I treasured my time with him on photo jaunts without my three sisters.
In retrospect it seems these times were too rare and I have changed this in relationship to my two sons. Together we would catch images of steam locomotives, Vieux Montreal, Mosport Racetrack, photos of the moon landing off the black and white TV in the rec room…most especially I enjoyed the silent moments in the darkroom, just he and I.”
For 30 years or so every summer on Solstice/Father’s Day weekend, a gang of mates who called ourselves the Outdoor Culinary Fellowship, would go on kayak adventures from BC’s famous Broken Group, Desolation Sound, local waters of the Salish Sea and the first harrowing annual boys’ trip-crossing Haro Strait to San Juan Island, USA. When my boys became pre-teens, I thought it time to start a new tradition of a father and son kayak adventure on that special weekend every year.
As an older dad perhaps I have a heightened sense of how quickly time is passing and how the busyness of my boys’ lives, their rapid growing up and natural need to separate-will understandably affect our ability to carry on this annual getaway. Already as it happens, for this Father’s Day we are doing a day paddle instead and I will enjoy every second of it, soaking in the presence of being a father and being called dad.
I would like to acknowledge dad’s everywhere who have their sleeves rolled up and especially these guys: Marco, Machine, Yackle, Battle, Michael, Micah, the big guy, Gregory and Zack, Todd, Rick, Lar, Steve B., Lee, Josh, Per, Wags, and my Dad Glenn. I am also thinking of my late Uncle Jack, who was like a father to me.
About the Author: Peter Allan is a father, husband, artist and entrepreneur. He is also a hockey fan, kayaker, an amazing cook, an off and on journal writer, and a friend to many.