Unfinished Business.

Father’s Day every year is like that moment when you come into the apartment, you out your feet up, and that one cat sneaks up on you and scares the living daylights out of you. Every year, Father’s Day sneaks up on me without warning, and yet, realizations every year I never reflected about enter my mind. Yes sometimes they scare, me, but other times, they just instill me with wonder in how much I am still learning about myself – and that becomes this question in my mind – did my Dad ever realize how much he had given me by his example? Most times I think not, but that always manages to put a smile on my face.

There is a lot in my DNA I simply can’t explain, my metabolism, but constant wondering of ideas, projects, and wanting to develop this or that, often my restless spirit, and of course, I have realized, look back on the past year (part of 2015 and what we have here of 2016) there is so much I am discontent about, it often bothers me personally, when there seems to be some type of mistreatment. Honest, I try to let things roll over me and not take them personally, but it’s just amazing how they simply come back despite that attempt.

However, enough of that I digress, instead of profound conclusions, I am going to mention some of the realization that still impact me thanks to my Dad, who seemed to also be everywhere at once, able to help hundreds of people just thinking about them, and here, years later, I am lucky enough to see what I feel are impacts of his very being.

No one believes how many children my Dad actually fathered, but to be completely honest, I recall how hysterical it was to him that every year at the fair, he would be the one that could win the fair event of a father that could fill up a school bus with his children. Speaking of buses, I still remember the school bus we used to travel back and forth to motor cross events; looking back I often think we were the inspiration for the show The Partridge Family.

Dad’s reluctance to drink or smoke always impressed me, while everyone around him did, he didn’t touch the stuff, and yet, he was the most popular person around everyone, many who needed to drink and smoke to relax and be fun to be around, which again, strikes me as ironic as I see the same today and his unwillingness to do either – albeit his strength and how others looked up to him – that spoke more than any words can be put down.

Animals, geez, could we have enough pages to go on about that topic? From raccoons in diapers that would wander around our house, to foxes on the mend, to deer he took in, to the thousands of dogs we had that seemed to always be Saint Bernards, to cats from every direction, of course that element still runs through our lives today.

I always wondered how he managed to say so little, I mean little. Despite the “darndest” things that would get anyone’s temper off in a flash, he would walk away and I heard it said around, me, but thought it often, what kind of war was going in that he was able to keep all away from view – and yet just worked through so many frustrating moments.

No one will ever realize what it is like to be among so many children during Easter, Christmas, and then as I grew older, add to the mix nieces, nephews, and truly, having enough numbers to fill a public park, I have to tell you, there is and was nothing like it. Amazing. When you thought you were too old to play baseball or horseshoes, you realize, you aren’t when you are surrounded by that much family.

The ironic thing is this is just the tip of the iceberg, I remember a time when my parents separated that I did not really understand what having a father was, for most of my life that ranged from 1st grade to well, 12th – I remember walking out from graduation and it was just – I can’t explain it. There was my Dad. I mean, seriously, there was my Dad, and after that – those 12 years seemed to reappear and just – poof – just like that. I think then and there I realized how fast life can pass before you, and in realizing this – you can either make the most out of it so you will remember the best details or just it continue to pass you by in a haze, which may still do.

The ironic thing after my Dad passed, which I still know to this day altered me considerably and had me reeling in more ways than I ever realized, that to this day I am still realizing more and more about myself. I find myself becoming more solitary but to the affect that I am resisting things and situations that just don’t feel right. Or I don’t want. Or I just want to not be a part of. I have spent so many years giving 100-150% of myself to everyone around me, as my Dad did, but I began to take back and resist the very things I don’t like, disagree with, or just make me feel bad. What is totally opposite of my father, is the ability to keep inside the injustices I see and feel – ranging from so many places, people and situations, it is not worth going into specifics. That is something I will probably work on for a long time, trying to deal with the things that bother me, that happen to others, that others do to others, and I find myself helpless to improve. To me, that is one of the most frustrating things I just have an issue with.

Well maybe this as well, the ability to not maintain such high expectations of others. I just do this naturally, and expect a high threshold from so many people around me, which I think honestly, comes from myself. I expect to represent my Dad in the best light as an obligation to the many countless hours, minutes he spent, every minute, working working working to make things better for so many people. I still marvel at how he was able to be in all the places he was and do all the things he did for so many, it is just – it seems not possible. However, what he has left behind is this ability to contemplate what he did provide for his family when he was alive, and when he passed, and as everyone in our family knows, he has never left from the things very things he has instilled in us.

In retrospect, there are many people that never maybe knew their father true. However, I have been lucky enough to always find several father figures in the form of teachers, coaches, colleagues and more, and I am so so thankful for those individuals that helped fill in the gaps while I floundered in those years before reconnecting with my Father, as well as being handed down an invisible code to live the best possible life one could live.

I am doing better on working through so many of these contemplations I have mentioned above. Take today. It has been an uphill battle for me to just get back in the routine of running like I used to in the states, sticking to regiment of fitness that kept up with my energy level, but today biking that 34 miles? It reminded me of Rubes Run in Prospect, Pennsylvania, that fateful year I finally placed first in my age group – and giving that trophy away years later to an exchange student that just – well the sentiment carried forward to her. But all of those things, my father was in the middle of all of that – for various reasons, and it feels good to be back in taking care of my body and just doing more things for me.

Then it dawns on me, fathers, whether you had one, whether you knew one, whether you didn’t but simply being fatherly? – that changes things. It changes people, it changes situations, and it changes you. Sometimes I am simply so angry at how ignorant others treat others in so many situations, there is simply no consideration for others towards others sometimes, it kills me. Sometimes things happen just so – the last few weeks I have this churning, burning, anger that sometimes has just wanted to take me over, and trying to find a place to put that, all if us know, it affects our demeanor with others, our own periods of rest, and more. Quite by accident, I came across Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, volume one, perfect.  Dylan has an outrage to so many things during his time, taps into those things, and his angry feelings rise, and his words, reading them, his disappointments, his anger – how he did and didn’t fit in so many places, perfect reading for the perfect time in my life.

Between that discovery of a angered voice directed at injustices and the return to putting myself into training to jump back to the physical self I was when I was in Cross Country – sometimes you just hit on the right things at the right time. Just as I finished my 34 mile biking test today I sat down, pulled out Dylan’s book, opened it and what comes on the restaurant speakers? I kid you not, Dylan’s “How do you feel?” – and just ironic moments like that – means nothing to some, means everything to others. The individual sitting next to me asked to look at my book and over the next 10 minutes, he just was examining parts of it with a huge smile on his face, like a sense of recognition and the thanked me before he left. I can’t put it into reasons exactly, but that was just perfect.  Reasons I can’t explain, but it was a great moment.

All of this above, all of what I think about and reflect about, yes, my Dad is in there as well, sometimes I can explain and other times I can’t. I do know I wish sometimes I could sit him down and see what I can see right now, and he’d laugh that big laugh of his in just seeing how unexpected life can be and has become. Yet, his ability to provide confidence without often even saying a word? – there is magic there.

I know I have been lagging with posts and so much has happened over the last few months, so yes, I need to get back at it. I once said that when there is this long lag in posts when I blog, it is me taking in so many aspects of so many events, I just want to word it right, “right” being the way it feels right to me and to represent it correctly and not just dashing something off to just have another blog post.

Looking back the end of this school year, there is so much that hasn’t been reflected on and sure, I’ll get to it and maybe some of you will agree with me about it, that is pretty awesome – but the real impact that matters is that feeling of moving forward in a world that can be turned upside down in so may arenas, political, cultural, social, and more, and still being true to yourself and those around you. Luckily I can look to my Father for sure whether he is here now or not, and of course, my Mother. I have been lucky to have parents that did things in their own way, but always provided a path for me to see the best option to build myself up and do the same for others. That is the right way to live a life, and oh what life it has been.

So as Father’s day comes to an end, you do not have to agree with is at all, because this seems to me just my take on it. But I have been seeing Father’s Day as a day of embarking on that return to realizing what elements you continue to build on and strengthen to continue to serve as a father figure to those around you. Whether you base this on a father you know, a father you symbolized with, or simply being a father, as much as we try we can’t change the world by ourselves, but lending that attitude of fathering everyone us, many realizations begin to truly set in and extend beyond ourselves. There doesn’t seem to be a better gift out there.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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