In 2015, in the above post (Just click continue reading above if never read) I wrote:
Finally, my Dad’s most profound lesson he gave me is going to be passed down through my words and my actions towards my sons. Stay True Jaxon and Maxwell….Daddy loves you, believes in you, and is here for you. But, my love and belief in you alone will not take you where you want to go. You must strive to understand who you are at your core and then believe in and love that person. Then, doors will open, love will follow, and life will present you with the truest sense of joy and fulfillment.
Just three days ago I was away on a business trip when I was on the phone with my wife and she told me that my oldest son, Jaxon, came to her and said “Mom, I want to get a tattoo when I am older and I know what I want it to be.” “What’s that?” My wife asks. He says, “Stay True”. We both teared up. My heart filled up.
Then I came home to this:
Today will be twenty years since I lost my Dad on Father’s Day. Just writing that opens up the deepest of pain.
But, today I am happy. I am blessed. I am fulfilled. I am deeply in love with my sons. I am immersed in fatherhood.
I. AM. DAD.
This past year, as my sons have become “little men”, I have come to fully realize that they look up to me in very same ways I looked up to my Dad. I watch them seek my approval. I see how much my attention means to them. I see how they light up when I come home and when they wake up every morning. I see their hearts break when I am disappointed in them.
As illustrated above, I see how much influence I already have on them.
Two days ago was Jaxon’s last day of Kindergarten. My wife, Maxwell and I were anxiously waiting to greet him at the bus stop with camera ready. When the bus drove up I walked right up to the bus and started clapping and when he got off, I hugged him and then put my arm around him and started walking….I only got about 20 feet from him before I was on a knee.
He melted into my arms and cried such deep and real tears. My little guy did not know what to do with the emotion of the last day….his wonderful teacher Mrs. Davis and all of his friends…were they gone forever?
I held him tightly yet gently. I told him I loved him. I practiced one of the lessons from my Dad I wrote about in the 2015. I did not claim to understand, I simply let him know he was safe with me.
In that moment I got my Father’s Day gift. Ain’t no material gift that could trump the honor of being loved and needed by Maxwell and Jaxon. Their precense in my everyday is more than I ever thought I would receive or deserve. A gift that can only be reciprocated with my deepest intention and effort in being the most loving, guiding, accepting, supporting, and present Dad I can be. And I will reciprocate as if my life depended on it.
It may seem, that I have only mentioned Jaxon in this post. Believe me when I say, Maxwell is every bit part of my joy in being a Dad. It was just that these two things happened just days before Father’s Day.
I get that in the context of this blog, Lessons in Life and Leadership, there may not seem to be any real lesson in this post. Or is there?
And perhaps it is simply this, we have to pay real close attention to the influence we have on other’s. I have become acutely aware of this with my sons. But it also makes me ponder my influence on my wife and anyone else I encounter.
I can’t dismiss my influence on my sons. I must lean into it and let the awareness of my influence guide them in deep ways. I must create space for lots of laughter as well as a safe place for tears. I must teach them lessons, both hard ones and easy ones, about this world and how to acclimate themselves while staying true. But most of all, I must ensure they know they are loved and accepted.
They deserve the best that I got. I love you Jaxon and Maxwell…endlessly.
In closing, I would be lying if I said the magnitude of losing my Dad is not felt today on the 20 year anniversary of his passing. I would love for him see me as a father and husband. I simply can’t imagine how great it would feel to have him walk in the door today to celebrate Father’s Day at my home and watch my two sons run up to their Papa. To say I miss you cheapens the depth of what I feel, but I do miss you, Dad.
I. AM. DAD.
And, you won’t hear me say this often…but…
I. AM. PROUD.
Jaxon and Maxwell give my all the reason I need to be happy and full of love today.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you Dad’s. I hope you are going “all in” with the the biggest opportunity we have been handed in life.
P.S. Simply can not end this without saying thank you to my companion who made me celebrating this day possible and supports me in all my “fatherhood”…I love you, Angel.
P.P.S I am far from a technical person so if the pictures turn sideways as they have in the past, it’s just me not taking myself too seriously or seeking perfection ?????????