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Friday, March 25, 2022

Making Dad Proud

Every March 25, the date my Dad was born in 1918, I try to remember to set aside time to think about him. I suspect many of you do something similar to mark milestone dates in your lives. Honoring Dad and Mom is one small way to keep them close to my heart. What are your rituals for honoring the people who gave you life and/or nurtured you through childhood?

The direction my thoughts take on days like this vary from year-to-year. When it occurred to me I am less than seven years younger now than Dad was when he was taken from me, my reflections turned inward. What things that I do now - or will do - will make whatever time is left to me count? Though I'd love to have had an opportunity to ask Dad if he'd ever asked himself that question - in the middle of his 73rd year or ever, for that matter - I'm pretty sure he would have scoffed at it. Both he and my Mom said to me more than once in my younger years, "Patrick, you're too serious". 

They were right. Still, as my thoughts today bounced from Dad to myself and back, that question did give me pause. My family, my friends, my music, my reading, my writing, my exercise, my meditation, my activist and volunteer work, my teaching, my wanderlust. All are things that give me joy. And I believe each of them, to varying degrees, will help make my remaining time count. But each also require attention and commitment. 

So I must remain mindful that making my remaining time count has elements that don't readily fit into a perpetually focused, goal-oriented blogger's worldview. First, I must stop long enough to congratulate myself when I reach a goal and forgive myself when I don't. More important, I must never become so pre-occupied that I forget how critical it is to recognize, congratulate, and forgive others, especially anyone who is struggling. Making my time count by being that kind of person would have made my Dad proud. I've always aspired to that. 

4 comments:

  1. Hi Pat: David's birthday is March 25th! That aside, I too think back on my parents when their birthdays come. Especially my Mom. I have lived two years longer than she had on the planet and that is a sober reminder to live life fully. For me that includes many of the activities you mention. Such gratitude.

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    1. Ines; Happy birthday to David; he's in good company. And indeed, we both have much to be grateful for. In my case, that includes having you as a friend and unwavering supporter of my blog. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Hello, Pat. Hope this finds you doing well. Can't say that I actually do anything specific to remember my dad on his birthday, except for it being yet another day that I miss him. He was taken from me at the all too young age of 70 and it's 23 years that he's gone this April. I hear him in so much in the thing that I do, missing his guidance (although at a much younger age I was reluctant to listen and would give anything to have him say it to me now) and I imagine how he would be with being a 'Great' Grandfather. These things usually result in both sadness and a smile. I do the same for my Mom, lost 8 years ago this August. These things happen without even thinking about doing them as my parents are never far from my thoughts. And you saying that you are less than 7 years from the age your father was when he was taken from you, sadly reminds me that I am just 5 years younger than the age my dad was when I lost him. Ahh .. reality. Sometimes it's such a bitch. OH, and by the way, I love that your parents called you 'Patrick'. Obviously I never met them but somehow I can hear the calling your name and it reminds me of hearing 'Robert', or the ever dreadful 'Robert Russell", which only verified that a person has a middle name so they know when they are really in trouble - lol.
    Be well ...
    Bob

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    1. "Anonymous" Bob; Three comments in one day, again; thanks so much for the time you invest in reading and commenting on my blog. Over the three years you have been doing so, I sincerely feel as though I've gotten to know a good part of your story. This is gratifying to me because I started my blog in March 2011 with exactly this aim: "Only connect" (EM Forster), even when the connection is sometimes virtual. In this comment I particularly appreciate how you made a parallel with "Patrick" vs. "Robert" or - more ominously - "Robert Russell". Whenever I heard "Patrick James", I knew it was time to head for the hills.

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