Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

I'm going to try and make this post as short as I can.

I've blogged about Father's Day here before, in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 (2010 must have been a tough year). If you read those older posts, you'll get a feel of how my feelings have changed over the years.

I still think of Father's Day as a "Hallmark holiday," but even so I feel tons of gratitude today thanks to my two boys.

My youngest just graduated from high school and will be moving on to college in the fall. My oldest is rapidly approaching two years of sobriety and is maturing more every day.

Two-and-a-half years ago, I could never have imagined things being how they are today. Now it's reality and I thank my lucky stars every single day. I am truly blessed with two amazing sons who have come so far in their lives.

This is the second Father's Day I've experienced without my own father, and I miss him. I think of him often and certain things trigger memories of him. Some are good, many are bad; but they're still memories. Today I'll remember him when I see the U.S. Open golf tournament on TV because my dad loved golf and always wanted to spend Father's Day watching the last round of that event.

To all the fathers who are dealing with/have dealt with an addicted child: Speak up and help break the stigma associated with addiction. You shouldn't feel ashamed or guilty or embarrassed. Addiction is a disease and you are not alone in what you are experiencing/have experienced. Let's stand together as dads, tell our stories, and let the world know that we as a society have to address addiction with the same energy and tenacity that we used to bring AIDS and breast cancer out of the shadows and into the light. If we don't, we will continue to lose more beautiful children at an alarming rate.

To all the fathers out there who have lost a child to addiction: My heart aches for you. I can't even imagine what you're feeling today or what you feel every day. Know that none of it was your fault, and that your child is in a better, more peaceful, less painful place. If you haven't already, I urge you to share your stories so that people can learn how awful addiction can be, and that it can happen to anyone. I admire your courage so much.

If you're a dad, love your kids 24/7/365. Make it a habit of telling them how much you love them. Be an example for them. Appreciate them for what they are. And most of all, just be there for them.

Happy Father's Day.

"I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway... let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves." --C. JoyBell C.

Me and my dad at Niagara Falls, circa 1965.

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