Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Father’s Day (2014)

My Dad got an early Father’s Day present when the J Man and I popped in for a visit on Saturday.

He even received a bonus when I didn’t ask him for money.

It was a nice day all-round for me as Jake and I stopped in at the Beaches BBQ and Brew Fest at Woodbine Park on our way from Oshawa to enjoy the aromas of roasted meat, the sounds of great music and the tastes of some local craft beer. I did, anyway. Jake had ice cream.

From there we toured our way through downtown Toronto before making our way to Downsview and Casa Hendry, to spend some quality time with my Mom and Dad, my brother Brian and his friend Terry.

Also waiting for me at the house was a trio of special B.C. beers Brian picked up for me on a recent business trip, including Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewing of Victoria, the fourth-highest ranked IPA in Canada on Rate Beer with a score of 99. He also brought back a bomber of Central City Red Racer IIPA (97) and an Amnesiac IIPA from Phillips Brewing (94).

Such a wonderful brother. He didn’t even drink any of it either.

I have a wonderful family as well, and a top-notch, A-Number One Dad.

I honoured my father last year with a blog on Shwa Stories. I think it’s a great time to re-print it now. 


Father’s Day (2013)

"A man can be a father, but not every man can be a dad."

My step-daughter Adrianne used those words to start a blog she wrote about me a few months ago. It was beautiful – made me tear up and everything – and it also made me think about my Dad.

My Dad was 24 when he became a father for the first time. I was ten years older, but I inherited three at once, so at the age of 34 we were even.

The difference – and it was a big one – was that he had ten years to try to get it right. I was jumping into the deep end without a paddle, or a manual for that matter.

It wasn’t easy, I can tell you that. I had my Angry Dad moments. I had my frustrating times, my feelings of powerlessness.

I wasn’t always around either, especially after Jacob was born. I held down three or four jobs at once in his first year and I think Adrianne, who was 18 at the time, spent more time with her little brother than I did.

I love that they developed a special bond that still exists today, but I hated that I couldn’t be there for him. Especially as my Dad traveled all the time on business during my childhood.

I wished he was around more in those days, I really did. But he was there to teach me how to ride a bike, he was there to teach me about the wonderful and wild wide world outside our cottage door, and he was there to look the principal in the eyes and tell him his son doesn’t lie. “If he said it wasn’t his beer on school property, it wasn’t his beer.” Thanks Dad.

As time went on being a Dad got easier for both of us. No less challenging – I think we can both say the older our kids got the more demanding the job became – but easier, because by then we figured we knew what we were doing.

A little delusional on our parts, sure. But the important thing is we persevered. We learned. And we loved.

We still do.

Among the nice things Adrianne said about me in her blog was that I am “always there” for her and her kids. I guess I am, but that’s only because I had the greatest teacher: my Dad.

I’ve never asked him, but I bet Dad hated being away from us when we were kids as much as we did.  He must have hated it, because he has done his best to make up for lost time since then.

To this day my Dad is the one I call when I need help. It’s always been that way. During my first marriage, when my wife and I were having problems, Dad was the one who acted as the referee and smoothed things over.

In the years that followed, Dad was the person I turned to. Especially if I needed money, and that was often. I’ve owned two houses in my life, and neither deal would have happened without the kick-start we received from my parents.

Yesterday I gathered up the clan – ten of us – and we headed out to Toronto to see Mom and Dad. Also known as Grandma and Grandpa. And Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa. We ate chicken wings and salad and other goodies. And we had a good time because we were together.

I was sitting with my Dad on the porch after dinner watching the kids run around the lawn, playing some sort of soccer-football-dodge ball game. And I noted that it had probably been a long time since there were so many people having fun there.

Dad just smiled.

I love you Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

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