Father’s Day Message.
As the old gentleman sat watching his son holding his newborn, he felt the tears swell in his eyes. Not wanting his son to see the tears, he carefully lifted his hand underneath his glasses as to adjust and clear the lens. It was at that moment he thought back as to when he started needed the glasses to see, when did the bristles in his close shaved beard turn so grey? At what point did his mid-section expand, giving him the perfect look in a cardigan sweater? Mostly he thought, when did he go from the new father holding the baby to the proud grandfather in awe of this new life?
Just three days old, the newest generation to carry on the family name was there. Dark hair, curious eyes, no bigger than a butterball turkey, the future of the world, perfect in every way, waiting for his grandfather to hold him for the very first time.
As the old gentleman carefully cuddled his new grandson, he dismissed all thoughts of holding back the tears. A moment to treasure. A moment in life he would cherish forever. As he slowly rocked his new grandson, and spoke softly muttering the words “Welcome little one, I am your grandfather. You and I are going to get to know each other very well!” The old gentlemen’s son watched and snapped a picture. As the son, the new father reviewed the picture on his phone, his own tears swelled in his eyes, and he did not hold back the joy, the precious meaning of this moment. He then asked his father, “Dad, when I was born, did you feel this way? Were you excited, humbled, and nervous about how you would know how to raise me?”
The old gentleman laughed, looking down, his new grandson had fallen asleep. Knowing they had undisturbed time and no rush he began to tell his son: “Son, when you were born, I was young like you and life seemed like a forever moment. I had no idea how fast time would go by. How much I would miss the moments with you when I had to work late. How quickly our Sunday time would pass.”
“I also remember feeling disappointed that I did not have the skills to teach you sports. My job provided well for our family, but not well enough for us to travel the world on Spring and Summer breaks. What I had to offer you was the knowledge to know how to treat others, how to follow your heart, how to not sway from your values, and how to put priorities on people and not material things. Sometimes I wished I could have been a better father and provided the things you missed out on. I hope you are not disappointed in me. Now that you have your own son, you can teach him sports, take him on extravagant vacations, buy him the things I never could.”
As the son leaned over and put his arm on his father, he looked down at his newborn son and looked his father in the eye and said, “Dad, growing up, I had many friends. They were the ones who participated in sports, traveled all the time, had a new car at sixteen, the best of everything that money could buy and you know what? They used to tell me they would trade it all to have a dad like you! I want to raise my son the way you raised me. Money will not make my life better, but the values you gave me will allow me to teach my son what is important in life.”
As God our Father loves us unconditionally let us remember the gifts he gave us in our life; the opportunity to love others, to uphold our values, to teach others, and remember what is really important in our world.
May your Father’s Day be filled with love, laughter and a peace in our heart that life is a gift!
Harry Ohde, Volunteer President/CEO
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago