Being Dad

Yesterday I sat for two hours in a full auditorium for the annual Herron High School awards ceremony.  I was there because Noah got a year end award.  It was an interesting experience and truly learned how much of a solid community this school has grown into.  As teachers approached the podium to read the name of the honored students they were honored by the cheers of the students themselves.  The close relationship of students and teachers is clear, but never more so than with the students who received most improved awards.  It appeared that struggling students were given the tools to get better, some seemingly by the pieces I gleaned from announcements, putting them on a track to success that might not otherwise has been possible.  For Noah his few seconds of receiving the certificate he did was unimportant.  He dislikes these kinds of things even for him.  What he did appreciate is the both his mom and Dianne and I were there to see it.  It got me thinking.  Today is the 34th anniversary of my dad's death.  He never got to see me accomplish anything in high school.  He wasn't there when I was part of the championship track team, won scholarships, or graduated from college and graduate school.  While I did have so many people in my life who helped me through those years, friends, teachers, my track coach and of course neighbors, I wished my dad could have witnessed some of my accomplishments.  So I was fretting about leaving early yesterday to go to the event.  Confirmation is tonight and I go on a trip to see my mom and attend my college reunion on Sunday.  I wanted to make sure everything was in place and that no last minute events were a problem.  But Dianne made it clear I have to be there and I am thankful I was.  Noah might not remember the award, but 35 years from now, when he is choosing to attend his child's ceremony or not, he may remember that when he saw me he smiled, hugged me and was happy to have me in the room.  I really didn't have a role model for being a dad of a teen and a quirky one at that.  But I think half the battle is showing up and as long as I have the choice, I am going to try and do that.  I miss my dad, even now, an entire lifetime removed from him being there.  He has been gone for almost 3/4 of my life.  But I will never forget a few moments he gave me that will last forever.  Teaching me not only how to play baseball, but watch it (I skill I still love), making a mock solar eclipse with a box, flashlight and tennis ball when we couldn't see it where we lived when I was really small, singing us to sleep with songs he loved, (I still know every word to " Mary's Vineyard" ).  I realize part of being a dad is being there.  In the moment.  I am glad that I can do that for my boy.  I am glad I was given the chance. 

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