THE SONIC BOOMER
This Sunday is Father’s Day, and I am one of the lucky ones — I had (and still have) my father in my life. And everybody thinks their father is the best father, but mine really is.
I am the first-born child, so I am taking full credit for catapulting this man from carefree 20-something into the “father” category. The arrival of my younger brothers and sister eventually forced me to share him, but I knew him the longest. Therefore, I got the full benefit of his unconditional love.
Here’s an example: When I was in junior high, I played the oboe in the school orchestra. For the end-of-year concert, we were told to dress formally — suits for the guys, long gowns for the girls. At the time, this was a Very Big Deal. For most of us, it was our first time in this type of attire. The girls, especially, were all aflutter about it.
I have no idea where my gown came from. I don’t remember, and it isn’t important. I do know it had been worn by someone else before me because there was a small stain on one of the shoulders. My mother assured me that no one would see the stain because that’s where my corsage would go. My corsage? I was getting a corsage! I was over the moon.
On the evening of the concert, I was given a corsage. My 83-year-old great-aunt Ella was pleased and proud to present me with a beautiful pink carnation set into a few fern leaves that was immediately pinned over the stain. I don’t know who was beaming more about this, she or I.
But here’s the part that touched me — that I’ve remembered all these years and that still brings tears to my eyes. After the concert was over, after Ella had gone on home, my father came up to my bedroom and said, “Debbie, I just want you to know — I wanted to give you your first corsage. But your aunt, well, she’s 83 and she might not have gotten another chance.”
And, because I was 14, I probably said something short and stupid like “OK,” and he probably never knew what an impression he’d made on me. But he did. Not only because he loved me enough to want to be the first to give me a corsage but because he respected his aunt enough to acquiesce.
Respect for your elders is one of the things you learn from your father, sometimes when he doesn’t even know that’s what he’s teaching you.
So, if you’re a young father, that’s just a little story to try to show you how important you are.
To your children, you are the man by which every other man in their life will be judged. Every decision they make will, in some small way, depend upon things they learned from you. And, not to scare you, but their choice of a lifetime partner (if any) will reflect your influence as well.
Luckily for you, almost all the people they meet along life’s journey will fall short. You are up on a pedestal. Try your best to stay there. (I know you can. I know you will.)
Oh, and Happy Father’s Day!