Today is Father’s Day, first I would like to wish all the men who are fathers, or who have accepted the role as a father and have touched the life of someone in need of a fatherly touch, a very happy Father’s Day.
My father died in 1992 at 69 years just three short years after my mother’s death. I loved my dad, but I did not always like him. Dad was not always a loving man, he was an authoritarian in many ways and he ruled in that way. But dad was a dreamer. He was always going to start his own business or get a pick up with a camper and we would do a lot of traveling and camping. None of these things ever took place, but we heard about them all the same.
What did I learn from all this? I learned how to be a realist. Oh, that does not mean I did not have my own dreams. Some have come to pass and others have gone to the wayside. Whatever my dreams were I knew when to drop the pie in the sky dreams and concentrate on the ones that were realistic. People talk about the optimist and pessimist. You know the one that goes “The optimist sees the glass as half full and the pessimist sees the glass as half empty.” No one ever thinks about how the realist sees the glass, he sees it neither half full nor half empty, he just knows that someone must wash and put the glass away after it is finally empty.
I had dreamed at one time, that after I retired, Kathy and I would go back to Europe traveling around and finally renting a small villa in an Italian village, where we could shop in the local market, learn some Italian and relax, using the villa as a home base traveling the country, enjoying the good life. After I finally retired Kathy said that she really did not want to do all that traveling. Then she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease that caused me to realize that this was not a dream I would realize.
One dream that did come to pass, was when my daughter asked me to go with her to Hawaii after she had graduated from College. Kathy and I had promised that when she finished school we would send her to Hawaii as our present for graduation. She did not want to go alone and she did not have any close friends to ask. I had longed to go back to Hawaii, after a brief stop in 1970, as part of the long journey to Vietnam. My dream came true and Lara and I had time that many fathers wished they had had with their daughter(s).
Now I temper my dreams with a stiff shot of realism. It does not stop the dreaming or the desire to do something. It just reminds me that there are dreams and there are realities and my realities must take priority over the dreams.
Today I received two beautiful cards, one from my wife with a very special message that only a wife and mother can give to a father and husband, the other from my daughter, her card is very special to me, it is one of those cards that is placed in a very special place in the heart and displayed for a very long time.
Finally, I want to thank Dad for giving me the gift of dreaming, but also the greater gift of realizing when dreams must end. It is not easy to make that decision when a dream ends, but it is worth every moment of dreaming and finally setting them aside.