With so many different memories and images in my head I thought about writing something on Father’s Day, but instead I spent the time with family and watched little Max and his father Aaron together, glad to be part of that family, a designated grandfather through my connection with Jessica.
I thought about when I was Max’s age and how much younger Patrick would have been than Aaron is now, my dad struggling through two jobs and all the rest that you read about here.
I also thought a lot about John and his different kind of successes, his even more difficult childhood and young adulthood.
I was looking at photos of John and his first wife (Betty) the other day. They looked so happy together, happy to be a family, with Bruncle Chuck, Aunt Phyl and my mom.
One photograph was particularly telling. Betty was resting in bed, reading, and there were lots of medications on the nightstand. She died so very young, leaving John to care for three youngsters and try to explain to them the concept of heaven and why mommy wasn’t there anymore. Yes, he would remarry twice. The joy and happiness that he felt with Willie for well over 20 years enriched his life beyond measure.
But this site is focused on Patrick and Stephanie, not John and Willie. (That site will be coming.)
I wonder how many Father’s Days I actually spent with Patrick? The first four or five of course, and maybe one in the summer in Missouri, but I cannot recall another. The time I spent in Tampa was around August ’75 to February ’76, and the other infrequent visits that I made never fell in June, at least to my recollection.
What is Father’s Day anyway but another Hallmark holiday to help sell greeting cards and power tools and beer? Still, just because it may be a marketing ploy, does not mean that we can’t own it and make it something more, like I am doing, like I did with my grandson and son-in-law.
I find the joy of being Granddaddy, the name I use to call John until my early teens, a particularly satisfying experience.
Especially in these crazy times, where people refuse to believe in science, refuse to protect their neighbors with scraps of cloth, refuse to believe in anything but themselves, I am thankful for my time with the kids and Max. They offer comfort and hope in desperate times.
For each of you I hope you are able to embrace loved ones when it is safe to do so. Appreciate the relationships you have, even if those relationships can be supported only virtually for now.
And spread more love to combat the increased hate and indifference of the world.
Belated Happy Father’s Day.
I’m the son of Patrick of Meadows.