I guess words can’t really describe how thankful I am to still have you in my life. There were times over the last few years where I thought your body had given up on you and I am ultimately grateful you are a fighter. You have been through so much in your life, I can only aspire to be as strong as you when the chips are down.
Now that you’re living with us, it’s funny — I’ve gotten to know you more as a person. When I was child, there were certain things that a father was supposed to be; a protector, a provider, a care giver. In many ways, you are still those things — whether it is forbidding me to help with the dishes on occasion, or stubbornly trying to fix something on your own. I still love the fact that you tell me to be careful every time I get in the car, or go on a trip.
Yet, the more I pay attention, you’ve become more than those roles to me, you’ve become my friend.
I can’t help but smile as I look over at you as you watch the Red Sox. How you silently well up with emotion when the team does something right. How those tears flow when it comes to matters in real life as well, like watching your granddaughters grow. I don’t know what feelings lie behind those moments, but I’d like to guess it is happiness that you chose to live instead of giving up to the demons of your past.
This Father’s Day, I searched the shelves in vain, trying to find you something you would enjoy. Another model or perhaps a DVD. I toyed with the idea of Red Sox tickets, but I’d want you to experience it up close, on the first base line, and I can’t afford those seats. Hell, if I had the money, I’d send you on the $200K space flight starting next year. Having to be practical, it was only in the oddest of places that I decided to look, the Wii video game isle, that I found your gift. My motivations may sound silly, but I seem to recall you were an avid golfer until your body rebelled. Unable to traverse the large courses or swing a club, I thought perhaps this would give you the satisfaction of a round, without the pain.
I have to admit, I was nervous. I had no idea what you would think. Would the mere motion of swinging the Wiimote make you hurt? Would the memories of being out on the green not compare to pixels on a TV screen? I took the chance. The Tiger Woods game was the right choice. Giving the game to you a little early yesterday, your eyes lit up and like a kid at Christmas, you couldn’t wait to play it. I couldn’t help but smile at the melting ice cream that you requested last evening, waiting in vain for you to finish a round.
This morning when I woke, you triumphantly pumped a fist as I entered the living room, having beat your score from the previous night.
I am glad you like it. I am glad that after 10 years of being unable to play, you can. I am glad you are my father and most of all, I am glad you are my friend.
Perhaps one future Father’s Day, I will be able to afford those Red Sox tickets or a trip into space.