|Dad and I (The much earlier years)|
When I was a little kid I have some very fond memories of my Dad. I mentioned on Facebook that one of my first moments that I can recall really being interested in sports was laying on the floor with my Father as he was listening to a Dodger's game. I remember the chance I was given to hear the voice of Vin Scully through the little earpiece that was attached to his transistor radio. I remember being a Dodger's fan for a short part of my young life. That is something I am glad I grew out of - Go Cubs Go! However, I remember this being a very important thing to me. Obviously, at the age of 50, for me to still remember this memory it is cemented as so many other memories have fallen loose.
As time went on, as a kid, I don't have a lot of memories of my Dad as good or bad because he wasn't around a lot. I knew he was a salesman, and I remember enjoying having him around. There were some tense moments when he and my Mom finally separated and later divorced. There weren't many things about divorce as a kid that I really enjoyed. Through that process I would hear things about my Dad and remember being told he wasn't a very good guy. I found myself fighting with the struggle of seeing the hero in my life become human. Some of you may understand the struggle and the decisions you have to make through that process. When people of influence in my life were telling me things that in one way or another may have been meant to form the view I had of my Dad.
|Dad and his siblings. (I have come to really like this picture)|
One thing I can remember was the fact that we still stayed connected to his family and how much they wanted to be a part of my life. I am still so thankful to all of them to this day. I appreciate all of the benevolence they shared with me and my family. As time passed, I realize this is one of the compelling reason I decided later in life to get to know my Dad when I had the opportunity. The other choice was to let go of the bitterness that I saw and felt occasionally could have become a ruler in my own life. Through the school years I didn't really remember having much contact with my Dad. It was in my college years that I really decided I wanted to take the time to seek out and get to know Dad.
I wasn't all that close to my Brother and Sister at the time. I did my thing and they did theirs. They took their own approaches to how they dealt with Dad and how it affected their life.
|Me, My Brother, and Sister back in the day|
I remember being at a Gala for the Fiesta Bowl and having a free bar at the event, and not knowing what I really wanted to drink. For some reason I chose Scotch... Because Dad did. I can honestly say I didn't develop any kind of taste for that until much later in life.
As I went away to College from Arizona to California we talked occasionally and I remembered just enjoying the connection regardless of what that was. I knew that if my desire at that time was to become a Minister I needed to at least give this thing with my Father a chance and let the forgiveness process work it's course or I wouldn't be able to deal honestly with other people that were dealing with this. This process was very good for me in the long run. I am so thankful for that process.
Years went by and I found that I had to deal with my first divorce. Something I would have to own. I struggled with the fact that I had to go through a really crappy time of this and I just couldn't fathom how I could have taken the paths I did and ended up in the darkness with little way of escape. That part of things was something I never really came to terms with. I also remember that guys of great faith dealing with situations where they made bad decisions and then things working themselves out for the best. I hated it, but in the long run it wouldn't define me or my kids.
Those of you who know me know I don't drive and so getting to kids a couple hours away by car might as well be an eternity sometimes. It was a bigger struggle knowing that my second wife didn't want much to do with my previous kids. I didn't see a lot of them but I cherished the time I did have with them. I know that any time wouldn't be enough in my eyes. I love my boys. Regardless of anything else I have done, and what people may say that isn't something that will change. I had to have faith that in time it was going to work itself out.
As time passed my second marriage failed as well. We made our mistakes, and the process was even more tumultuous this time. Sixteen years of struggle in many areas came to a head when I got counseling and realized there were a lot of unhealthy things that I dealt with in life weren't good for my family. As it would turn out the person I am wasn't acceptable to the lady that would become my ex-wife.
|Logan, Dylan, Brock, and Chuck|
I know my boys have struggled, and I hate that. Fellas, if you are reading this and if that is the case, please understand that there are two sides to every coin and I hope that you will take the time to see that coin for the beauty both sides holds. If a coin is only viewed for the one side you aren't seeing the true beauty that the Master Artist designed. I do love you and I am so proud of the men you are becoming.
I want to thank my oldest son Logan for his role in helping me try and see my youngest boys. I am so thankful that you got to meet your younger brothers; I am just sorry that took over 10 years to happen. I am also thankful for my amazing girlfriend Kathie! Babe, your heart for my kids and your willingness to stand beside me through this process amazes me everyday. Your heart is bigger than I could ever ask or dream for. Thank you!
As for my Dad. We lost him at age 75. I know he was fighting with the fact that his body and mind were roughed up in life but that struggle is finally over. He was not a perfect man that lived the heroes life in my eyes. However, in his own way he was a big help in my process in life. This is something I cannot have done without him.
I sat with my girlfriend in my favorite pub in Branson and toasted Randy Myers. There was no more appropriate way to do this than to spend the evening telling stories with my girl and sipping a very nice glass of Scotch. I will miss my Dad and remember him fondly. I am a better man because we struggled and fought for our relationship. It has been worth the ride.