It doesn’t take much to launch me into a long, deep thought to dwell on in the morning with my job. I drive for hours at a time, only to stop and park for an equally long time.
I began my drive on a recent early morning thinking about my children, as I do many times, and hoping that their childhood is as happy and healthy as it possibly could be.
I constantly wonder if I am doing my best to make it so. I’m not rich or even their best friend, like some fathers who are actively and directly involved all the time. And it made me think of my own childhood and the relationship I had with my parents.
I had a great childhood, with many ups and downs and adventures all around the country. I had many friends of different cultures who gave me a wide variety of experiences.
My parents were not rich, nor were they able to be at my side all the time to directly and actively participate in my adventures growing up. My father worked a lot of hours as a career enlisted man in the Navy, struggling with a meager Navy salary.
That doesn’t mean at all that they didn’t do their best to make my childhood wonderful.
My father may not have fished with me at Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach all those times, but he made it great by getting a fishing rod and letting me use it. Why is that great? Because he didn’t fish. The only thing he ever did catch the one time he tried was a hunter’s wooden decoy duck.
My mother didn’t help me reel in all those carp, but she never complained when I brought them home to clean and she even helped me. Why is that great? Because she didn’t know how to clean fish, but she did her best every time, no matter how much it disgusted her to try.
These are just two of the many fond memories I have of my childhood. Some directly involve my parents, but many more do not. But as I think of each of those memories, I now realize what I didn’t understand as a child, because I was too busy living and loving them: My parents were always there participating and supporting my happy childhood.
My father was orphaned at a very young age, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been not to have a mom or dad around to provide and support him.
I must say that after thinking about all of this for a couple of hours during my morning drive, I came to realize how wonderfully blessed I have been to have my parents. And I hope that my children, too, grow to experience as much.
Just before I arrived at my stop that morning, the sun came up in all its glory from God and I had to pull over and stand outside my truck on the hill and take a moment to bask in its warmth.
I want to do a better job as a parent, as most people do, but I have come to the conclusion that if I do as good a job as my parents did, then I have done a great job.
I must have bewildered travelers passing by as I stood with my arms outstretched on the side of the road, as the moment of sunrise met my moment of epiphany.
Someday I hope my children can look back and say the same things as they wonder if they, too, are doing the best they can to raise their children.
Love you, Mom and Dad.