If I'm counting correctly, this is the fourth Father's Day post I've made on my blog over the years. The others were in 2009, 2011, and 2012.
If you want to go and revisit those, feel free. The 2009 and 2011 posts were pretty bleak, as I've always struggled with Father's Day. I can't help it. That's just the way it is when you grow up feeling like you don't really have a father.
Last year's post was more positive, primarily because I was feeling better about myself as a father. But I was still feeling bad due to the lack of a relationship between me and my father, who was in the hospital at the time.
This year, things are different: My dad is no longer with us. Even so, I am not struggling like I used to because I was able to forgive and reconnect with my dad for the last six months of his life. My only real regret? That he's not here today to hear me say "Happy Father's Day." If he were, and if I could say those words to him, I would actually mean them...for the first time in over 40 years.
It's funny how things work out. I went 40+ years despising Father's Day because I didn't want to make that phony phone call or give the obligatory card and gift because I felt like I had to. Today, I wish I could make that phone call and give that card and gift...because I want to.
But I am at peace today. And that's huge to me.
Last Father's Day, my older son was in Georgia living with a friend he met in rehab in Palm Springs. He seemed to be doing fine, but in hindsight he wasn't. I thank God that he realized this a couple weeks later and chose to come back to Michigan and move into a sober living house. A year later, he is more than 11 months clean and sober and inching closer to that one-year anniversary. I am so incredibly proud of him.
Last Father's Day, despite his struggles with ADHD, my younger son had just finished his sophomore year at our local public high school. A year later, he has just finished his junior year at a new school: The Leelanau School in Glen Arbor, Michigan. The school was great for him and I am so proud of what he accomplished there. He stepped outside his comfort zone and tried new things like drama and music and playing basketball. I hope he can go back in the fall for his senior year and graduate from this awesome school.
Last Father's Day, my wife and I were working on our recovery. We are still doing that and have come such a long way from where we were just a couple of years ago. Living in the moment, taking care of ourselves, doing things for us; we've finally learned how important those things are.
Last Father's Day, my mom sent me a pretty long e-mail filled with the beautiful things she's so good at saying. Today, her e-mail was shorter. But it still hit me right in the heart:
"HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the BEST/GREATEST FATHER I know !! XXXOOO Mom"
This Father's Day is the best one ever. My wife and younger son are home. And my older son is coming over shortly. We will cook good food and be together, all of us having grown and matured over the past year.
Happy Father's Day. Life is good.