Usually when someone says "you did the best that you could" it is intended as a platitude to comfort someone who fell short. I am going to say it and mean it to its fullest intention -- YOU DID THE BEST THAT YOU COULD! And nothing more could be asked of any of us.
You have been a great Dad. When I was young, you went out of your way to spend time with me. You took me hunting when my boots were so big on my feet they got pulled off by the sucking mud. You took me fishing when learning water wears down stone. You took me camping when I was too excited to sleep that "relaxing with my eyes closed" was almost as good as sleep. You took me around the USA. You took me to Canada. You took me deep into Mexico. You showed me a world outside my immediate surroundings. You would make sure I was experientially enlightened.
The divorce judge told you that you could have my brother and me every other weekend. So you made sure to take us every other weekend! If that was all you were going to get, then that is what you were going to use to its fullest! You would take us to the movies or the ballgame, but sometimes you would just take us to your apartment and watch tv, because you were going to spend with us all the time the law allotted you to spend with us, recognizing the importance of a present father, regardless the activity we spent together. I grew up in a generation of broken homes. Do you know what an exception you were?!? Most of my peers were "abandoned" by their broken-off parent! You were different, you evidently cared! And that was not lost on me.
I am not an only child. I willingly share you with my brother. You were a public school teacher for what, thirty-five years? I necessarily share you with tens of thousands of students to whom you dedicated your best.
But dearest Dad, there are things that are just mine. Until I was three, you sang me to sleep with the "Wabash Cannonball."
With apologies to my younger brother whom I love, there were some advantages to being the first born. On Sunday mornings before church, we read the newspaper together.
And then there are the stupid dogs. It was you who introduced them to me. It was you who taught me to love them. It was you who set me on the road to raising and training and competing with them.
I love you Dad. Life threw its curve balls at you, and you not only never stepped out of the batter box, you choked up on the bat! Be proud. Recognize you did the best that you humanly could. And that is the most that can be asked of any one of us.
Happy Father's Day.
Copyright © 2010 by Kevin W. Walker