- Watching Ohio State Buckeyes football with him every Saturday last fall, as the team rolled to an undefeated season yet could not appear in a bowl or be named national champs due to various rules infractions. As the autumn leaves turn new colors, and the air cools to football weather, I miss these regular TV dates and pizza parties with my dad.
- I miss going out the deli with my father, where he’d face the tough decision of which gigantic sandwich to order. He took such pleasure in eating, too much in fact, and Jewish deli food is far from healthy. Still, I miss our father-son and family meals that actually ended well before his days were done, simply because I could not transport my father to the restaurants.
- I even miss those same questions my dad would ask me, repeatedly, every time I’d visit: how’s your family, how’s business, do you need some money? They said a lot about my dad; not just that his dementia reduced his capacity to these few inquires, but also his values about family, and work, and generosity.
- And I really miss the man my dad was in his heyday – strong and resolute, powerful and preoccupied with his work; not that those were our finest days as father and son, but because those were his glory days, I miss those times as well.
- His good nature, which showed up the minute he was born and has mostly persisted ever since. I recall how he would cheerfully greet us each day when we entered the nursery after his nap, all smiles, and that even as a teen today, Jordan is pleasant and friendly more often than not.
- I also love that he’s a grateful guy, pausing to say “thank you” after a meal made for him, even when he’s rushing off to school or homework.
- And I love my son’s intensity, his passion and purpose when it comes to causes and viewpoints; he researches and learns and argues passionately for what he believes – which lately includes the rights of GLBTQ folks, along with pure Marxism as an alternative to the worst of what Capitalism represents. I know where he gets this zeal and commitment – as they say, the fruit does not fall far from the tree – and I can only love and respect every stance he takes.
- I loved how when I’d call to say I was coming to see him, my father would always say “Drive carefully” which was really another way to say “I love you.”
- And I loved his generosity of spirit and resources; almost to the end he was gregarious and giving in so many ways.
- And mostly, for the nearly 20 years that he knew me with Maggie, and the over 13 years since Jordy was born before my dad died, I really loved how much he loved them, made them welcome and a priority.
- During the Broncos-Cowboys quarterback dual on Sunday, I had a sad sinking memory as I missed going to the park and throwing a football; it hasn’t been an interest of my son’s for a couple of years.
- I miss children’s television, on incessantly; especially when I flip through channels or see a commercial, I miss watching those kid’s shows with my son, for their innocence and his interest in them, especially given the sorts of shows he now enjoys – think South Park and Breaking Bad.
- And I miss him, my son, Jordan; as he grows into a young man, a teen, a high schooler, he must necessarily distance from us. I accept and celebrate this growth and transformation of the person and our relationship.
And that doesn’t stop me from missing, and loving deeply my son, just as I miss and love the memory of my late father. These feelings keep them both close to me, in my mind and my heart, even when there’s growing distance, and with it these ever-present feelings of missing and loving.
…and that’s the full-circle fatherhood report.
BONUS TRACK: by The Rolling Stones