- Family and Parenting
Father's Day and the Circle of Life
Beginnings and Endings
I had a strange and mostly good Father’s Day weekend. My older niece got married on Saturday, and a good time was had by all. I once again taught my kids that you don’t have to dance well to have fun. One of the flower girls was the daughter of my recently married younger niece. She definitely would make my list of the happiest babies that I have ever seen. In a couple of weeks, we get to do it all over again because my oldest nephew will be getting married. Time just keeps marching on. When I was married almost exactly 22 years ago, these newly married (or soon to be married) young adults were all little kids.
That was the fun part of the weekend. Father’s Day itself was more bittersweet. My family, as usual, let me pretty much do what I wanted all day. After my wife made me a nice breakfast, I went to our UU church, proceeded to have a nice lunch with my mom and the family, got in a good swim at the gym, and then watched game seven of the NBA finals at my sister’s house. What more could you ask for?
But as I was driving to church that morning, a variety of thoughts and emotions were swirling in my head. This was, after all, the first Father’s Day since my dad died on June 26 of last year. It was also the first Father’s Day since my grandfather died about two months ago, one month short of his 100th birthday. So after spending Saturday celebrating with people starting their new lives, I could not help thinking of the lives that have recently ended. Between these recent weddings and funerals, I have found myself sandwiched between five generations of my family’s history. It’s enough to make you break out in a rendition of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King. And in spite of the lingering sadness, I also feel very lucky to be part of this story.
When I was younger, I would not have danced like a lunatic at a wedding for fear of what other people would think. As a middle-aged person today, I have learned somewhat that life is too short for excessive self-consciousness. (Most people are too busy thinking about themselves to pay much attention to you anyway.) Hopefully, my kids, who are currently in the most self-conscious of age groups, will learn from my example that looking like an idiot is far more fun than sitting on the sidelines. You never know how much longer you will be able to dance until you drop, so make the most of your time with the people you care about the most. I probably have more days behind me than ahead, but I want my kids and any future descendants to keep dancing long after I’m gone.