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Fathers & Sons (How the Years Go By)
June and 2010 were very special to me and my two wonderful sons for two reasons: Chris and Aedan both graduated.
Chris graduated with a second degree from the University of Winnipeg on Friday 11 June, and Aedan will graduate with honors from St. Paul High School on Tuesday 29 June.
It’s certainly special because I love my children so much because it represents a major achievement in their young lives.
It was a surprise to me that Chris chose to go to university and his decision to do two degrees was a gift to himself and a wonderful gift from my life as his dad. Needless to say, I am very proud of who he is becoming and what he has accomplished. In the bigger scheme of things, I never expected this to go back a few years. But sometimes life is full of surprises!
I say “very” special, but it was also a bittersweet time for me, because just a few years ago, the odds of me living to see my son Aedan graduate from São Paulo were slim at best.
The fall of 2001 was when I got sick for the first time. At that time Aedan was 9 years old and in the fourth grade. By February 2002, I was no longer able to work and found myself either confined to my home or confined to a hospital bed as I began to seriously begin the biggest struggle of my life, to live long enough to accept Double lung transplant. It finally arrived just in time in August 2003. For my three children; Chris, Marnie and Aedan It was a very difficult time, especially for Aedan because he was so young.
I am fighting for my life and it requires me to do my best and count on the support of family, friends, community and the medical community to keep me going. Part of my process and something that has helped me a lot is setting goals. One of the goals I set was to live long enough to see my son Aedan graduate from high school. It was bittersweet because it was a happy time, but also reminded me of dark and difficult times in Aedan and my life. I achieved this goal with the help of Aedan! Chris is a bonus!
how the years go by
Many of you have kids who just graduated from college or college and/or are graduating high school this month. I want to say to all of you moms and dads, congratulations for all the perseverance and hard work you put in to make your kids successful! They couldn’t have done it without your support and guidance. I am sure this has been a labor of love for each of you. Their success is your success, and besides being their celebration, it’s your success too, so enjoy and bask in the warmth and light of a job well done.
The main reason I’m sharing some of my personal experiences and proud moments is also to bring to your attention, and a special reminder to all dads out there; Father’s Day, these are “moments in our lives”. These moments should reflect what we most value and cherish that define us, they are part of our purpose and journey in life. Of course, for our children, graduation represents an important milestone in their early personal growth and development.
It’s also a thoughtful time in our lives, as it brings into focus how quickly the years go by and how the true meaning of life can slip from us if we don’t pay attention. It’s a scary thought to think that when your son graduates, most of the time spent at home will pass.
With the help of you and his mother, he will go through some very important events in his life; certainly from his birth, which now seems like a long time ago. You witnessed his first words, first steps, he learned to ride a bike, went to kindergarten, went to elementary school, joined his first sports team, took music lessons, went to high school, turned sixteen and drove a car, for the first time Dating, finally graduating high school and reaching drinking age instead of entering college or college.
Yes, you’ll change his diaper, wipe his nose, bandage his wounds, feed him, teach him to dress himself, lace up his skates when he starts playing hockey, drop him off at 5:30 Training Saturday and Sunday mornings, freezing to cheer in the stands, football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, helping him with his homework, catching balls, sitting and watching Christmas plays and pageants, teaching him to drive, at parties in high places Pick him up when he’s drinking and doesn’t want to drive to school, you remind him of the chores, get him out to mow the lawn, shovel the snow, clean the house, the list goes on. You remember it all as if it happened yesterday, and you remember that the whole purpose behind the way you raised your child was to pass on your values, to teach responsibility, discipline, and a strong work ethic, even though he might have thought your behavior at the time It’s crazy!
Dads often ask themselves these questions during this time; He I loved him enough, did I set a good example?” When you look back, tough questions won’t come back, especially if your personal assessments let you down.
Well my money is on all of you and I bet that despite all the distractions along the way you are never far away when needed and your son knows you and respects you for it.
As your son finishes school, gets married, buys a house, grandkids, birthdays, and special occasions start the inevitable replay, you both will have some quality time. Yes, the relationship between father and son is a special one, and anyone who decides to have a son and be a father is taking on one of the most important responsibilities in his life, so he needs at least the time to get it right. Just be patient while your child shows you how it’s done. With any luck, maybe one day your son will say; “I am my father’s son,” and say it proudly. That’s when you’ll know you did the right thing for him and feel the same sense of pride and satisfaction! I hope all of you dads had a great Father’s Day last Sunday.
the last point
I’ve been blessed a lot in life, and yes, surprisingly, I’ve made some really good life choices. The best decision I ever made was to become a father and it turned out to be the father of three children; two sons and a daughter. Over 40+ years, they have taught me a lot about parenting, but perhaps most importantly about myself. After much thought, I can say unequivocally that my children have played a very important role in who I am today. No doubt parenting has been a challenge at times, but never regretted it.
They taught me more patience and tolerance, and they taught me what it means to truly give and be selfless, regardless of what is in return, although sometimes the rewards are indescribable. I became a quieter, gentler person, I learned to pay attention to the simpler things in life, especially when they were young, and I also found a place of calm when there seemed to be chaos around me.
In trying to understand my child’s needs and desires as they grow, I have learned that I don’t have to know everything and that I am learning from my child at every stage of their development. Finally, over the past seven years, I have learned that I often convey my best lessons to them through the example I set and my ability to listen.
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