Happy Father’s Day ! After 12 of these, I’m still shocked to hear this .. yes, I am a father .. but perhaps because I am still immature or have that Peter Pan syndrome ( never want to grow up ! ) I still have trouble processing it in my brain ! Recently I had to go over a few old documents and realized that my parents were both 37 when they had me ( I am ten years younger than my sisters ) .. my mom used to joke that I was the mistake ( ha-ha )… a joke that went over my head for many years … so my memories of my father are sometimes vastly different from my sisters. My sisters for the most part were gone to college and out of the house .. so i felt like an only child .. well a spoiled only child 😉
above: Me and my Dad, 1972
My dad was a life long banker for his career… but actually was ahead of his time in his thinking. Examples of this… he use to help my mom by changing diapers ( yes, a shock during the 50s and 60s !) , helped with the cleaning of the house and later on encouraged me to become an artist (!) even though he wondered how i would ever support myself .. something i still wonder too ( ha-ha ) … and, before I was born, he even thought about taking my mom and sisters and joining the Peace Corps overseas ! He battled his demons ( as we all do ) and conquered most of them, like quitting smoking after 40+ years ! .. just up and quit cold turkey one day … amazing… I was lucky in that I spent many years with my father after he retired, having lunch with him, buying his lottery tickets, watching the occasional basketball game with him.. and in that strange transition slowly over the years instead of me depending on him … he started depending on me… He was a typical Nisei Japanese-American in that he didn’t say too much .. about himself or past events .. but when he did, well you were either in trouble or it was something important ;-P In the arc of his life, he saw ups and downs, as a young teenager was interned with his family in a World War 2 concentration camp, joined the Army to show his Patriotism, but also saw the horrors of post war Japan, got married and had a family, spent his lifetime building his career and the disappointments that resulted. My father did say if your lucky enough to live long enough you will have to endure many events, good and bad .. that’s what life’s made of … so with that perspective I know nothing stays the same forever, life is always in flux .. it’s when your in it that you do not see the bigger picture playing out …being able to look back is indeed 20/20 vision. It’s been 8 years since he passed away .. but I am glad he got to experience Max for a short time.
above: Max and Me , 2010
So I do my best as a father to Max .. he knows I make mistakes, but i always tell him you can learn from them and to move forward. Along the way you will have some amazing experiences, make some good friends and maybe one day have your own family.
The one thing my father said to me that meant the most to me, was when Max was born, he said to me , ” .. I know you will be a great father ” … wow … to this day i think about that moment.. and try my best to live up to that one statement. I hope I will be … and if Max ever has his own family I will tell him the same.
Happy Father’s day !