Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Day For the Ball-Scratchers

Greetings. It is 2:15am on Sunday, June 17, 2012. It is officially the 'holiday' regarded as Father's Day. For all of the men reading this who are fathers, dads or otherwise have offspring roaming the earth as a result of a moment of passion resulting in a gutteral 'Uuuuughhh, shit baby!', this day is for you.

As anyone who has followed my ramblings here knows, I'm a father. Of course, depending on who you ask, the term father is all relative. But, nonetheless, I have two children. Whether I'm loved or hated isn't the issue. The idea is that despite any and all circumstances, hard feelings, mistakes, disrespect, more mistakes, harsh words, harsher writings, disassociation... all of the above and probably more .... I still love my children unconditionally. And, my friends, that is not always easy for a father to do. Nor is it any easier for a child of a less-than-perfect father.

Mother's Day is a no-brainer. Hell, here is a person that went through enormous agony to bring into the world another human being, fully knowing that the very human being that emerged from her loins covered in mayonnaise, connected by a rope and wrinkled beyond recognition would one day do everything in his or her power to belittle, overpower and relish in the joy of her very existence being brought to it's knees over the keys to a car or a need for $20 for a visit to Subway.

But, Father's Day.... father's day .... daddy day ... a day devoted to a man who's contribution to a child's beginning of life consisted of a contorted face, stiff back and a muffled ''uuuuuggghhhh...errrggghhh".... while the swimmers were released to invade and bring forth life to an otherwise happy and content dozen or so Eggland's Best... a day which is mostly overlooked and relegated to a card from the growing swimmers, or their fountain (mom) and the opportunity to sit before the television, hand upon crotch, beer within reach and a bit of quiet which is really not what the father wants at all.

Stop me if I'm off base. Better yet, don't stop me. Because this isn't a blasting or 'woe is me' blog about my relationship with my own children. What happens with them now or in the future is anyone's guess and I'm a bit fatigued with the guessing part of the equation. This isn't about me, or them, in the least.

This is about a single man who is the epitome of fatherhood and an example of a father, a man, a husband, a friend, a human being that I can only dare dream to be or become.

This is about my own father. Sure, growing up there were plenty of times that I either resented, feared or was even embarrassed by him. Go figure, a kid embarassed by a father. Who woulda thought?
But now, now as an adult, as I look at the man that he is, I recognize that his imperfections were what made him perfect. My appreciation of his imperfectections were tempered by his love for me, no matter what stupid things I did and said.

Was he the perfect dad? No. Is he the perfect father? No. Is there a perfect father? No. Is he the and was he the perfect father to me despite his imperfections as they related to my own? Absolutely. An imperative yes.

I have watched over the last several years as he has humbled himself tremendously to care for his wife, my mother, as she has endured surgery after surgery. He has washed her feet. He has helped her dress herself. He has sat tirelessly at her bedside as she labored for her own life in the hospital. But at no time did he ever become less of a father to me or my sister. He was always there for us just as he has always been there for us, despite his own circumstances.

This is something I've failed to do myself and I'm ashamed to admit it. However, I'm also proud to recognize that my father, Rollis Gene Brunk, is the man I one day hope to be for my own kids, my wife, my grandkids and any and all pets (including a possible turtle, who knows?) in the future.

Sure, he drifts off to sleep while watching Fox News. Who doesn't? But he drifts off to sleep content with himself ans somewhere, deep down inside his soul, he knows he's done a good job as a father, despite my mistakes, ideals and everything else that makes me, me.

Unconditional love. That is what Father's Day means to me. Thank you Dad. I love you, respect you and will always remember that one day many, many years ago when I sat upon the porch of our small house in Winston-Salem, feeling depressed, and you sat beside me, placed your hand on my shoulder and said, "so, why are you feeling blue?" 

Happy Fathers Day.

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