Sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him

It's been a strange month, lengthy and lovely vacation notwithstanding. The foggyness of Nova Scotia's south shore permeated the brain as much as the beach while we were away. We enjoyed, along with the cottage, the canteen chock full of fish and chips and $1 ice cream cones, a welcome visit from my mother. The kids spent their days on their own schedules, sometimes playing in the rain, but always playing what they wanted to play. About the only things they were informed they had to do were to go to bed when it was time, and to take an outdoor shower to rid their heads of a few extra pounds of sand.

But back to the fog for a second. The Lovely Wife and I both spent time at the cottage with the boys and their grandmother, though each of us was pulled in another direction for a few days. Our own busy schedules (hers work, mine play) resulted in us being apart on her birthday, and in my daze from being away and having biked 90km in a day, I neglected to wish her a happy birthday on her special day; something I still haven't forgiven myself for, even if she has. We had planned all along to postpone the birthday celebrations to the following week, and on her actual birthday, we spent precious little time together in the morning before heading our separate ways for the weekend. My mistake, my regret.

The day that followed my mother's departure back home marked the sixth anniversary of my father's passing. I felt it in my bones, but the actual day again slipped past me and I also haven't forgiven myself for commemorating it properly. I did speak to my mother the next day about it, but again it seems as if I have been lost in my own little, foggy world this summer. As I ironed a shirt on Tuesday, my first morning back to work, I found myself humming Mr. Tanner, a Harry Chapin song, not coincidentally one of my father's favourites, and one that has stuck deeply with me from childhood saturday mornings, watching the reel-to-reel turn, emptying one reel while filling next, and lounging on the shag carpet in a sunbeam in front of the stereo. I paused with the iron in my hand and closed my eyes for a few moments, remembering him as perhaps I should have two days earlier, and inviting those childhood memories to wash over me.

From time to time I seek the comfort music. Today I opted for the first Crash Test Dummies album (the one with Superman's Song on it, in case you haven't clued in from the title of this post yet). It reminds me of a time of newfound freedom in my life, enjoying the freedoms of having a car and cruising around town after dark on warm Edmonton nights. It also represents a time in my life when I first realised my parents were treating me as an adult. Trust had been earned, leeway was given, accepted, and rarely abused. I felt important and that I was respected, probably because I always tried to respect them.

I know that there are several factors at play lately which are causing me to lose track of important dates in my life, not the least of which are submerged family issues (though they probably don't even qualify as "issues") that creep into our lives from time to time, and the fleeting summer which will end my eldest son's preschool era; he'll head off to primary (kindergarten) in less than a month. (I can only hope I don't fill his backpack with my neuroses and desire to protect his every move.) The busy weeks of summer will merge seamlessly into busy weeks of fall, and I will likely not feel the effects of summer activities coming to a close. I will undoubtedly feel like a busy parent of school-aged kids, tripping off to Beavers, hockey, swimming, gymnastics, and trying to find time for parent-centric activities on the side. In short, I will probably feel as my parents did; I'll once again relate to what they went through, and my mom will continue to see me as a parent as well as her child. And I'll continue to miss my dad. Every week, not just on the second day of August.

" was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole."

Posted bythemikestand at 12:10 PM  

3 stepped up to the mike:

bethany actually said... 5:16 PM, August 07, 2009  

Mike, that was melancholy and heartfelt and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it! said... 12:14 AM, August 08, 2009  

Oh, Mike I agree with Bethany. Your dad would love what you've written and your children will love the fact that you are so loving and, believe me, most all of the dads, (and moms), out there are feeling the exact same way as you. I remember how strange a time it is and how endlessly shocking as you see all the ways your child is becoming more and more an individual and in some ways more and more like their mom or you. It's very eye opening!

chRistine said... 9:25 AM, August 23, 2009  

the last summer before preschool: savour the moment, knowing there will be more. this summer is our last summer before highschool, the last of these as my youngest moves into secondary education. it's monumental, not sad.. but your post was beautiful :)

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