Everyone’s favorite kids from Bayside High were a bunch of filthy liars.
Today is my dad’s birthday. I wouldn’t describe the relationship between my dad and me as normal but what does that mean? A normal father/son relationship? Is it what we see on tv or see on greetings cards? I don’t think there’s a set format on how to be a “normal” dad.
I didn’t see him very much when I was growing up. We lived in rural Kentucky and to provide for his family he worked in the coal mines and took what shifts were available. Usually third shift. The most common memory I have of my dad through my childhood was him leaving for work or hearing him snore in the back bedroom, recovering from a 15 hour shift. We never played catch. He didn’t teach me how to play sports or how to ride a bike, or the countless other things a “normal” dad would do, but honestly, he didn’t need to. Now don’t get me wrong he taught me plenty of things like how to fish for a specific type of fish, when to check and when to raise when you’re playing poker, and if you want something, work harder than anyone else to get it. He taught me what he knew and what I didn’t know that I needed to know.
We don’t talk that often. There’s no tension or problems, we just don’t sit on the phone and chat. After 30 years of working in the mines his body is a wreck. A price paid to provide for a family with, not only what they need, but almost anything they wanted. I got a Nintendo within a month of its release. I have no idea how he afforded it but he knew that’s what his son wanted more than anything and he did what a great dad does; provide.
I talked to my dad for about half an hour tonight, probably the most we’ve talked straight through in a year. He told me about the pains he constantly struggles with and the surgeries he’s put off because once he has them, he’ll be unable to work. I listened to one of the strongest men I’ve ever known describe what years of selfless labor has resulted in. It was so hard to hear because in your mind, and as childish as it sounds, your dad is invincible. He wasn’t telling me these things looking for pity, or with regret, it was just conversation. It was then that I realized that I didn’t have a “normal” dad, I had an amazing dad. One who gave everything he had and more to make sure his kids had every opportunity they could possibly want. He went above what was asked and spent most of his life working to give me mine. I love my dad and if my son turns out to be a fraction of what he is, I’ll be proud.