When I was young, I was certain that I was going to grow up and become a medical doctor. I had a specific mission: to heal my dad’s arm. See, he contracted Polio when he was 7 years old. A nasty disease, Polio. He was one of the lucky ones – he didn’t die. But the virus took its toll, and his right arm from the shoulder down atrophied and basically became paralyzed. I guess that makes him some sort of una-pelagic, but I’m not a doctor.
When I was young, my dad was Superman. He could drive a Caterpillar tractor, a Semi tractor-trailor, and a Porsche. I probably believed he could drive all 3 at the same time too, but I don’t really remember for certain. He could swim perfectly fine, but he always joked about not being able to surf because he would just paddle in circles. I didn’t get the joke. I thought if my dad could do all these great things with just one arm, how much more awesome would he be with two! My desire for medical training grew.
Until I found out there was blood involved. Turns out queasy stomachs don’t go well with anatomy and physiology. Sorry about that, Dad.
When I got older, I saw my dad deal shrewdly in business. He might only have one operative arm, but his brain was fully functional. He and his partner ran their trucking company well. They traveled all over the state, never getting lost, even before GPS was invented. I saw a “disabled” man give an extraordinary effort to provide for his family.
When I got older, I started to see chinks in my dad’s armor. That happens when we become teenagers, right? Dad goes from Superman down to regular old Clark Kent. It is so easy to criticize our parents, and blame them for the mistakes and failures we have. Truth is, he gave me a work ethic, and he was home nearly every night with his family. He was and is a pretty wise
I didn’t really listen to all the “life lessons” / lectures you gave me growing up. Sorry about that, Dad.
When I grew up (physically at least), I saw a man quit when he was ahead. He never shied away from the work, but he know that his time was done. You can only drive the streets and highways of California for so long without going crazy. It’s amazing he made it as long as he did, craziness notwithstanding.
When I grew up, I regained respect for a man who knows what kind of suffering really exists in this world. He isn’t naive about what it means to suffer. Of course there are others that have suffered far worse than he has. But I know that he has suffered more than I have, and he’s still a man with a good work ethic and a healthy view of family.
Until I took his only grandkids halfway around the world. Sorry about that, Dad. If I didn’t really believe we were called here, we wouldn’t be here.
I can still see chinks in his armor – I can see the chinks in my own armor that my little girls are still blind to – but he’s still my Superman. I think the Bible makes it clear that it is a good thing to respect our fathers, even after we see their imperfections. So, I’m trying.
Dad, happy Father’s Day.
If I would have had a choice, I would have chosen you.
PS – Here is the slideshow we did for last year Father’s Day. It’s been a bit hectic around here, and we didn’t get a new one made