For the most part I write this blog to do random rants on the quirkiness that defines our society, which in turn triggers a chuckle or two from your end and a “like” here and there on my Facebook page. But really, this blog is more of my own personal journal to my future kids, helping give them an explanation as to who their Father is, and how much of a nutcase he was growing up. Today, I’m not talking to all of you out there who read this blog hoping it will put a smile across your face and a tear in your eye. Today I’m talking to my kids, and helping explain to them who my Father was.
Or rather, who all three of them were.
Kids, today marks the annual holiday filled with mushy Facebook shout outs, gift-wrapped Dewalt power drill sets, and ugly polyester ties from Shopko that most people think qualify as return favors to that certain male figure in their lives who used to read them bedtime stories. By the way, I hope you never gave me a tie from Shopko. You’ve seen the beautiful collection hanging in my closet, haven’t you? For all of the countless nights I’ve spent reading to you, you owe me something better than that.
Each one of the three men I’m going to tell you about played the part of “My Dad” at different times in my life, with all of them taking on a vital role in the shaping of my character. Not many people can claim three different men for raising them, but then again, if you’ve read my story up to this point you know that my life is not a cookie cutter “Leave it to Beaver” 22-minute episode. My story is an “Arrested Development” alien plotline with a Molotov cocktail thrown into the mix to turn it into a state of continual chaos.
And these are the three men who narrated that story better than Morgan Freeman ever could.
The first five years of my life were given to your Great-Grandfather, a man who would sit with me for hours in the front window and count out the passing cars and trucks in front of our house. This is a man who would read books to me on his lap, take me up to the gas station to buy bags of M&M’s and would proudly showcase me as his own. Legally, for the first five years of my life I really was his. And I am certainly proud to say that I was.
The baton was then passed on to a middle-aged Seminary teacher who fell in L-word with your Grandmother and decided to tie the knot with her just before I turned six. For some reason this man was genetically engineered with the ability to only make girls, (hence all of your Aunts), so in his eyes I was an added bonus in the deal for your Grandma’s hand. I even remember sitting in the Copper Mill restaurant two weeks before their wedding, and him formally asking me if he could take her to be wed. He was a classy man, I’ll tell you. Respecting a five-year old’s claim on a woman.
The last man on the list is your current Grandpa. The first time I met him he farted in my face after eating a lunch at Pancho & Lefty’s. That’s right kids, how many people can say their earliest memory of their Dad was when he flatulently relieved himself of the bean burrito he just ate for lunch? For the first nine years I knew him he played the role of a substitute Father here and there, until he was officially given the title last winter. But in all the years I’ve known him, the guy sure has done a Hell of a job being a Dad.
Over the years I tried to learn as much as I could from all three of them. The first one taught me how to think, how to serve, how to shoot jumpshots, and how to love. The second man gave me my work ethic, and explained how to give a four-star public speech without pissing my pants. The last one helped me buy my first house, you know the one your mother and I first lived in. He even helped give me the idea on how I should propose to your mother too. On the surface he may seem a bit cranky, but deep down, he’s just a big softy.
Everyone has memories they shared with their Fathers. And a vast majority of those memories make you cringe in embarrassment. For the record, I am not issuing some kind of formal apology for my outlandish and immature behavior that makes you feel ashamed about claiming me as your own Father. Like the time I smushed brownies in my teeth and smiled at your high school English teacher, or when I told your prom date that I’d have him arrested if he brought you back one minute after curfew. Those are memories that I’m sure you’ll laugh about in years to come.
But as far as the memories I shared with my Fathers, well, those are just some of the best times of my life. I remember when my Dad would take me to lunch at One Man Band or Café Rio and talk with me about the meaning of life. Or when he wore his bright purple to suit to church on Mother’s Day. Or how about when he drove 300 miles to help check me out of the hospital after I had my brain surgery. Yeah, my Dads have been some great men, that’s for sure.
Kids, I guess the point of all this is that I want you to know how lucky I have been in my life as far as who drew the task of raising me. These are men who I feel deserved the Father(s) of the year award every third Sunday in June. If it weren’t for all three of them, I would not have been able to raise any of you at all. And yes, biologically speaking none of them are my “actual” Father, but that doesn’t really matter now does it? The real fact is that they were all great men, men who I honor and respect, who I love, and who I cherish. And men whose shoes I am constantly trying to fill every single day.
All three of them I am proud to call my Dad.