Sunday, June 19, 2011
Left To Right: Nick, my brother Frank, Me, Matt
I’ve easily written 10,000 words in 6-7 different posts the past 7 weeks, none which has ever seen the light of day for a variety of reasons. But here it is, just after 9:30 p.m. on Fathers Day, and I’m writing again after just coming back with wonderful dinner at Olive Garden with my oldest son Nick.
Nick has developed into an incredible young man. I always commented that Nick was my minimalist- doing the absolute minimum to get by in life- and I guess it always upset me because I try and do the opposite. In the past year he has shown a side of him that I never saw before. He has become a driven individual who embraces his work, school, and life with a passion doing the very best he can and being the very best he can be. He is close to converting me to become a Mac-aholic like he is, but when your life is spent in the Apple store it tends to do it to you. He is one of the chosen few who got to enjoy his passion for all things Apple by actually securing a job at the Apple store. He is the second youngest employee (by just a few months) at the store with nearly 100 people in it and is doing great at it, slowly but surely climbing the Apple tree yet making sure he doesn’t piss off dear old dad by making work second and school first.
Truth be known I’ve been going through a bad case of pre-empty nest syndrome with my youngest son Matt graduating high school last month. A week after he walked off the graduating stage wearing more robes and honors than half the faculty (Summa Cum Laude, officer in National Honor Society, International Baccalaureate degree, etc.) I was both proud and confused. Proud that my son did so well in school yet confused as to what’s next. Last year when Nick graduated and I felt the same degree of pride in him as I did with Matt but not as much confusion because I still had one of my babies at home to take care of. Soon I may have none….
Five days after Matt graduated high school he was off to Europe visiting eight countries and 11 cities in 31 days with nothing more than a backpack on his back and his best friend Amelia by his side. Ah but to be young and carefree again. This kid planned this trip out better than the invasion of Normandy. He’s been gone 20 days now, and has 11 more to go until he comes back, yet this it’s enough to give me a taste of what my future holds. While I’m excited about having more “me time” I also miss being the dad who was always there. Always. Just ask anyone. They were- and are- are my life. But now…who knows?
Matt called me this morning from Rome to wish me Happy Fathers Day. That's Rome, Italy, not Rome Georgia. My kid remembers to call me on Father’s Day…..from Rome, Italy no less. Amazing.
And Nick. Not only did he take the day off to be with me today and take me to dinner as well but he also gave me a card I’ll always cherish. It simply said:
I listened more than you think.
I remember more than you realize.
I love you more than you know.
Thank you for being my dad.
With a personal message:
Almost 20 years together my how time flies….Thank you for always doing your best in spite of me.
Has it been 20 years already? It seems like only yesterday.
In spite of me? Not hardly. I did my best because of you, Nick…
As I read the cards I got, listened to Matt’s voice from halfway around the globe, spent time with Nick and reflected over the past few decades, five words kept going through my mind over and over again- ”It was all worth it.”
Despite all my shortcomings- and they are oh so many- I guess my kids feel lucky to have me. If they only knew how lucky I am to have them as well, because so few dads have kids as incredible as mine…
Lucky kids, luckier dad. Life is good indeed….