A Father’s Wish

Posted: April 16, 2013 in General

I have spent most of my time on this blog writing about writing; a good thing since the whole point of this site in the first place was to get the word out about TOUCHED. But in a bigger picture, the book is just fiction. Mere words strung together in order to tell a story using pieces of reality and make-believe entwined into one. Nothing wrong with that; it’s all good clean fun but at the end of the day it really means very little.

What does matter is the flesh and blood that drives our lives.

My son, Jeremy, left today for the Air National Guard. And while I couldn’t be prouder of him, I now realize how much I will miss him. For the nine weeks of basic training the only contact we can have with him is via letter as he is rounded into shape in San Antonio. After that he will spend an additional five months in Mississippi for his Technical School. Although we can have contact with him then, it will be surface level at best.

And I hear voices in my head asking me questions that have been whispered before.

Did I do the best I could do to prepare him for his journey? Was I as good a father as I could have been? Why didn’t I take the time to that I was granted and be the man and father I should have been?

The answer is slow in coming because the truth is hard to swallow. Mirrors don’t lie and neither does your soul: I know I could have done better. Maybe it was bills and chores and work and selfishness and a hundred other things that got in the way, but I wish I had a second chance. Being a good parent and father is not easy. Despite parenting books lining the shelves, no one has all the answers. Instead as parents we muddle through the years and do the best we can while making countless mistakes along the way. All of which leaves behind traces of regret.

If there is one thing I can give my son, it’s the message that in spite of the times I have stumbled, I love him with all my heart. I truly wish I could go back in time and erase the mistakes and mis-steps that replay in my head. As any parent knows, you can’t. All you can do is start anew and try to be better the next day than you were the day before.

Unfortunately, in this case I have run out of time.

So what to do? I have no deep answers. I only hope that what I have done is enough to help guide him through his journey into himself. I hope that he stands tall and absorbs the training and becomes a better man. I hope that he learns that who we are and how we treat those we love is the most important thing we will ever do. If he learns that, then maybe someday when he stands in front of his own mirror, he will be proud of what he sees.

  1. mcmaurer says:

    You are an awesome dad, Paul. Your post was soulful, and made me cry ! Focus on the good memories as you think of Jeremy. You raised three incredible young men….and one who is fondly thinking of home as he does his push-ups in the mud.

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