MUST READ Blog Not About Being a Father

For the first time EVER, I had lunch with my father and my mother, just the three of us. READ what happened when my stepmom came home early.

I’m living in Vancouver for a year with my wife and three kids. We decided to pick up and temporarily move from Toronto to be close to our family and friends on the West Coast, where I grew up. Central to the decision, for me, was to spend some quality time with my father, after being away for 30 years. We’re 10 months into the adventure, and a couple of weeks ago, my mom, who moved to Toronto a few years before I did in the 80’s, was here for a visit. We’ve missed her while being away from Toronto, so we were glad she came to see us. That’s when the invitation was extended from my father and the historical lunch date went down.

In the six years prior to their separation, I guess there’s a remote possibility that I dined with my dad and mom without my older sister being present. But, I highly doubt it; and I wasn’t breastfed, so we didn’t unknowingly sleep through a meal together. We certainly had no occasion to break bread, just us three, in the 42 years since their divorce. They haven’t been uncivil with one another in that time, but I wouldn’t describe Mom and Dad as “chummy” either. So, while I wasn’t worried when my father suggested we get together for a little sesh, I was curious.

They’re too old to be patient while I tried to figure out how to get the Snapchat filter to add dog ears to all three of our faces. I’m too old to know that it only works on two people at a time.

FathersDaySnap

As I sat there in the house I left after graduating high school, looking across the dining room table at the lovely menu of fish, breads, veggies and fruits that my father had prepared, I found myself surprised to be thinking: these two people made me!

It wasn’t like the “EEEEEEWWWWWWW!” my kids say aloud when my wife and I display even the most innocent of public affections. It was more of an “in the moment” contemplation.

What do you talk about when you’re alone for the first time with the two people who created your life?

ASSISTED-DYING

When the time comes, my mom is determined to expedite her imminent mortality. To ensure I am clear about her wishes, she’s even tested me by having me answer an “End-Of-Life Questionnaire”; which I failed.

My father’s position on this subject is “inconclusive”. He is, admittedly, conflicted by his religious beliefs and what he witnessed in his life and career as a medical doctor.

As we discussed the current sociopolitical controversies relevant to the burgeoning field of Thanatology, I was eying the last piece of smoked tuna; Dad snapped it up, conclusively.

BRIDGE

My mother has only played it a few times, and never took interest.

My father has been playing as many as four or five times a week for years, and waxed philosophically about how there may not be any more Bridge players alive in 10-20 years. He tried to teach me how to play once.

I can’t even remember how to play Euchre. When I joked, “For me, Bridge was a wash out”, neither one of them blinked an eye. But, both quipped about not being able to say, “Trump”, in public any longer.

Our banter included other topics, such as: movies; blogs; James Joyce’s Ulysses; the Holocaust; Book Clubs; and…

MARRIAGE

At some point, my dad remarked, “I may, yet, celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary!”.

My dad and mom were married for less than 10 years.

Mom never re-married.

Just last week, Dad celebrated his 39th Anniversary with his second wife.

Moments later, my stepmom came home earlier than I expected.

I didn’t start to clear the table because I was worried things were going to get awkward or uneasy. The luncheon was wrapping up. My mom was actually pleased to see my stepmom, as she was hoping to get a tour of her art studio next door. My stepmom was happy to oblige, and the two of them sauntered off to look at some of her latest work.

In the time it took for me to help my father tidy up in the kitchen, they had returned with a framed photograph. It was a piece of my stepmom’s art that caught my mom’s eye on the studio tour and, without hesitation, my stepmom wanted her to have it as a gift. The irony was not lost on me that, of all of the pieces that my stepmom had hanging, or leaning up against the walls in her workspace, the one that caught my mom’s eye is called, “Shy Bride”.

FathersDayBrideV1

(The photo attached above does not do “Shy Bride” justice).

The last thing on the luncheon agenda was that my father wanted to show off his new gardens.

As my birth parents strolled through the backyard and then around the side of the house to meet me at the front, I had a moment alone with my stepmom. She expressed to me how pleased she was to see my mother so very happy. She went on to describe how for the first time, after giving her the photograph as a gift in the studio, she felt a special connection to my mom. As tears welled up in my stepmom’s eyes, she said, “I cry very easily at moments like this.” I responded, “I must get that from you.”

It’s Father’s Day today. I’m so very grateful to have this year to be close to my father. Seeing how my three kids have thrived and matured during this time at our home-away-from-home gives me immense pride and happiness as a father. This blog, however, is not about fatherhood.

It’s about the realization that even when you create experiences in your life and have every reason to expect they will bring you joy, with so many variables influencing their outcome, there’s still a lot of luck involved in how well they turn out. So, when you find yourself immersed in an experience that has brought you more than you had hoped for, it truly must be cherished.

Moving my family across the country for a year is an experience I feel fortunate to have been able to create. A pleasant, easy-going lunch alone with my mom and dad for the first time ever, and sharing gentle tears with my stepmom in the front hall of my childhood home, epitomize how this adventure has brought me joy in ways that I could not possibly have imagined.

If you are in the luxurious position to be able to create such life experiences for yourself and your family, I wish for you all the luck in the world in finding their most joyous outcomes.

But, Happy Father’s Day just the same.

17 thoughts on MUST READ Blog Not About Being a Father

  1. Wow Adam, that was really touching and beautiful that you and your parents had a meal together. So precious and you do look like them. You also have a wonderful family of your own and your wife is so lucky to have you for her husband and your kids are so lucky to have you as their dad. I saw the picture of you, your wife and your daughter when you went to see Carol Burnet. Your wife is so pretty as well as your daughter. You are pretty good looking too! Wow you have been quite busy lately! I hope you get to read the email I sent you with the poem I wrote called, “My Dad I Could Not Call” and also the Fathers’ Day e-card from BlueMountain cards. I sent them both I believe on Wednesday. So again Happy Daddies’ Day.

    1. Thanks, Jen. My apologies for not replying until now. I don’t usually check comments in my blog, which is obviously not a good idea! Anyway, I agree with your perspective on the universe. My take on luck is that, instead of it being completely independent of your actions, you should be “poised” to make the best of it when it presents itself. That includes taking the time to put yourself out there to the universe. Cheers.

    1. Thanks for your message, Jessica. I apologize for not responding earlier. I have not been diligent with checking comments on my blog. But, I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I appreciate your feedback very much. Sincerely, Adam.

  2. Adam–

    Brought tears to my eyes as well. Your Grandmother Ruth would have really liked this. Your grandfather Abe would have appreciated the well written and thoughtful comments — and probably been a little jealous as well.

    Joe Small

    1. Thanks, Joe! I apologize for not replying until now. I haven’t even checked comments on my blog before! Which I really need to start doing! In any case, I’m grateful for your remarks and very touched that you enjoyed the read; from you, high praise indeed. Sincerely, Adam

    1. Thanks, Adlai. I appreciate your feedback. So sorry to have replied so late! (I wasn’t reading the comments on my site; I’m not savvy that way). Anyway, it was great to hear from you. Cheers, Adam

  3. Adam,

    Your words are beautiful. Your story is a wonderful view on how to cherish life. I appreciate the family values that you have and I hope to instill this power into my family in the future.

    After all, in the end; bonds are what make a person stronger and give them the power to exceed in life.

    Alesha

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Alesha. I had not read your comment until just today. My apologies for being so tardy. I’m very glad you found inspiration in my words. That means a great deal to me. All my best to your family. Sincerely, Adam

    1. Thanks, Thom! My apologies for being so late in responding. I only just checked comments on my site today! I’m glad you enjoyed the read. My best to you and Joni.

  4. Adam…your Mom sent me the link to your blog. Loved this post about your lunch threesome. A very enjoyable mix of humor, wisdom and maturity. Really great picture too. Glad that Vancouver proved a wonderful and rewarding adventure for the family. That was a gutsy thing to do!

    1. Thanks, David.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the read. Yes, Vancouver was amazing! We’re so glad and lucky we could do it. Back in Toronto now, and enjoying our family, friends and neighbourhood here.
      All the best to you and Helen.
      Cheers,
      Adam

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