Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I Don't Want My Dad to Die Yet

Well, pops turned 65 (I think) this past weekend. Sixty-five. It's weird how my parents always seem ageless to me, but when I hear how old they actually are, it's kind of scary. I know they're going to die someday, and age really has nothing to do with it. It could happen tomorrow or fifty years from now. But sixty-five means that Dad is a lot closer to tomorrow than fifty years from now. So of course, this got me thinking.

The first thing I thought was that I am not 100 percent sure that Dad is turning 65. I think that's right, but when people ask, I say, "give or take a few years." Now that's crazy. I should know how old my own dad is. So, why don't I? Then I got to thinking about how there are tons of things about my dad that I don't know. And my mom.

Then during yesterday's Colts game, they played a commercial (I have no idea what it was for) and they said something like, "Do you know your grandfather's middle name?" And I don't. And I know even less about his life than my parents. Let's not even try to name my great-grandparents, I'll just embarrass myself.

I spend a lot of time struggling with who I am and who I want to be and all of that stuff. I mean, I really think about it a lot. So it strikes me that I haven't bothered to find out where I came from. I don't think I'm alone here either. But since it's always better to just speak for yourself, I will continue to do so.

Now, I'm a big fan of the internet and all of the wonderful things it brings to my fingertips. But it's sad that I can find out anything I ever wanted to know about Madonna or Jay Z, but I still haven't figured out how to walk across the street and talk to my parents about their life. I mean, they met in the Vietnam War. My dad left college to join the Marines. Without telling his parents. Their story has to be more interesting than everything on tv (except maybe the Dog Whisperer). But I haven't bothered to hear it. And I imagine I would learn much more about myself from their story than from the millions of other stories I can recite almost by heart. The same goes for my grandparents, I'm sure. But of course, I wouldn't know.

Now, I place some of this blame on my parents. They should've made sure I knew. They should've started young and assumed I would be interested. And if I wasn't, they should have forced me. It's important. I just hope when I have kids, I'll still be able to give them some idea of who their ancestors were, what their ancestors did, and how that shapes who they are.

Also, there's something special about a father's relationship with his son. It's wholly different from any relationship, and I'm not saying anything here that's not obvious. If you want to see the best movie ever made that deals with father/son relationships, watch Braveheart. There are four great examples in that movie. I think that's one of the main reasons it's my favorite movie. Anyways, Dad is who gets to show me what a man is. So what happens when you don't know what kind of a man your own dad is?

So my dad turned sixty-five, or somewhere near there, and it's a bit depressing. Not because he's closer to death, but because there's sixty-five years of life in him that I don't know much about. Which, I think, is a big reason why there's so much of me that I don't know much about either.


Luke Seraphim said...

Good post. Got me to thinkin' as well. Finally had that kind of talk with my old man a few years ago, and it was very freeing. There's more to discuss, but it was a good first step.

Hmmm...methinks ye ought to ask him and take William Wallace's words to heart...that every man dies, but not every man truly lives. After all, what's the worst that can happen? DYour dad'll laugh and say piss off? Not likely. And ultimately, I'd bet money you'd regret never having asked more than you'd regret the knowing. Will pray for you. Tough cookies to be sure. Your dad's a good man, and a tough nut to crack, but I bet he be honored if you asked. What's been handed down through all the males in your generation is also a tough obstacle to overcome, but it has to start with somebody. Maybe that's you? Salam Alaykoum.

lemming said...

Elmer and William.

What can I say, I've always loved family trees.

I do know what you mean about parents and mortality - more and more of my peers are burying their parents and I'm just not ready for that yet - neither am I readyu for the posibility of their needing soem kind of long-term care, yet I know so many folks who have taken that on.

Phil said...

Maybe if you have that talk, you can really find out if he is in the CIA or not.

Brian said...

The Weatherman is another great movie about father-son relationships.

Anonymous said...

Oh Good... I am glad it isn't only Andy who knows nothing about this family. I was starting to think he had "selective hearing".

Try sitting and talking with your dad... Now that we live out here we have a hard time getting him to be quiet. We enjoy it though because he has a lot of reflective things to say. Now I actually believe he isn't in the CIA anymore... for years I was convinced he was a secret agent.

Ange said...

Um didn't mean to post that as anonymous!