It’s Official, I’ve Become My Father

June 11, 2015

Summer has invaded Kansas City.  The kids are out of school, the temperature is climbing, and our beloved Royals are having another great season.  It was last night while watching the ball game that I made a disturbing discovery.

Let me fill you in on the startling scenario.  It was the first inning of the game, and I was stretched out in my well-broken-in recliner.  Although it was toasty outside, the AC was kicking out some chilly air, so I had covered myself in a comfy afghan.  Rather than a beer, which I might typically enjoy during the early innings, I had opted to have a cup of warm green tea at my side.  I was just settling in when I remembered that I forgot to take my fish oil pill after dinner.  So, with a huff, I got up to do this (because you should really take it with a meal).  While getting the pill, my son came running in from outside, leaving the door wide open and allowing the scorching heat to invade our home.  “In or out, dammit!  I’m not paying to cool off the neighborhood,” I yelled.  As I made my way back to the family room, my world came to a halt.  I saw the game on the TV, the recliner, the blanket, the tea…  Tea?  “Oh shit,” I said out loud.  “I’ve become my father.”

I guess I’ve seen it coming for a while.  For starters, my twelve year old son is embarrassed by almost everything I do.  According to him my clothes look bad, my shoes are worse (hey, Crocs are super comfortable), and I constantly say stupid things or ask questions that any halfway intelligent person should already know the answers to.  I’m not saying that my dad is this way, but I certainly remember thinking the same things about him at one time.  It’s kind of ironic, my dad finally started wearing white socks with tennis shoes just a couple of years before all the kids started wearing black ones.  Oh well.

I have noticed my wife regularly saying, “You sound just like your dad” or, “Oh man, you just looked exactly like your dad!”  It might be something I say, how I laugh, or just an expression on my face.  She doesn’t mean it in a negative way (usually), it’s just an observation.

Mostly, I see it myself.  I’m in my early forties, which I don’t think is old at all.  I consider myself to be in decent shape, very active, and fairly hip.  At least as cool as my friends (and I have some damn cool friends, at least I think I do).  Hell, I play bass in a rock band!  I truly still feel like a kid, but when I look in the mirror I see this old dude staring back at me.  Tiny wrinkles everywhere, hair in wrong places, strange spots and scars, sagging eyelids…  Whoa, that’s my dad.  Does anyone else do this?  Do you ever catch an unexpected reflection of yourself and feel shocked by how old you look or how much you look like a parent?  It happens to me often.

Luckily my dad is a great guy (and decent looking).  We are different in some ways, but very similar for the most part.  We may not always see eye to eye on politics or the importance of regular oil changes, but, among other things, we share a similar (odd) sense of humor, as well as a love of sports and music — although sometimes different teams and bands.  My father instilled many great values in me, which we also now share.  The most significant is the importance of family.  There is nothing he wouldn’t do (or hasn’t done) for his family.  He was far from perfect, but his actions when I was young made me be a better parent, and he continues to inspire me today.  I am now trying to set a similar example for my own kids.

When I think about it, if I had to “become” any single person, my dad would be my first choice.  With the exception of my wife, there is no one I look up to more.  So when I complain about becoming my father, I guess I’m actually just bummed that I’m getting old.  I haven’t discussed it with him, but if I think I’m getting old, I’d assume my dad feels the same way, but even more so.  He is young at heart, but is he thinking about his mortality?  Does he look in the mirror expecting to see a young man’s face?  Does he see his father?  Like most children with aging parents, I have thought about the fact that my mom and dad are entering their twilight years.  The older I get, the less invincible my parents seem.  

The first concert I ever saw was with my mom and dad.  It was The Beach Boys — a band my dad and I both like.  Mike Love, one of the founding members of the band once said, “The great thing about getting older is that you get to tell the people in your life who matter how much they mean to you.”  I like this, but would add that it is great to get older and still have your parents around to tell them how much they mean to you, because the older you get, the more you understand and appreciate them.

Some day, I truly will be an old man and my father will be gone.  I hope I will still get to see him when I look in the mirror.  In the meantime, I’ll stay young in my heart and mind, and fight growing old — or at least try to grow old gracefully, causing my kids as little embarrassment as possible.  Tonight I’ll be sure to have a beer while watching the game, but I may still need the blanket.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been wanting to do a little research on full synthetic versus synthetic blend motor oils.  Like I said, I’ve become my father.  I’m good with that.



2 Responses to “It’s Official, I’ve Become My Father”

  1. facetfully Says:

    Just almost a year-jerker. I don’t cry much anymore! Very sweet…or is that too feminine?

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