June 18, 2012
I hope your Father’s Day was a good one this year. We were blessed enough to have all four of our children home for the big day, and little matters more to my husband (well, to both of us) than just that. When your children reach their 20s, they get so busy with their own lives and responsibilities that it’s a rare treat to have them all together at once.
On Sunday, we barbecued and swam, laughed and talked; a couple of times, my husband and I just sat and watched the children talk among themselves. It’s very cool to see what kind of adults they’re becoming. Some are following the exact path we’ve thought for years they would, and some have taken very different roads on the way to becoming who they are. In every case, it’s both fascinating and gratifying to witness.
I think it’s also interesting to see family characteristics and mannerisms surface at family gatherings, often when you least expect to see them. You’ll get a glimpse of the way your son walks (somehow familiar), or how your daughter tilts her head when she laughs. You’re reminded that this one won’t eat onions (not because of the taste but the texture), or that one eats one item at a time, never mixing bites of food with anything else. One child may be quiet and reserved (like me), while another may be funny, the life of the party, always joking with someone (like my husband). It’s like flipping the pages of a family scrapbook, only the photos are real people and the backgrounds 3-D.
We also visited with my father, who (God willing) will reach age 93 in a couple of months. We talked on the phone with my husband’s mother. For years, they’ve both told us that all they want for any occasion is time – time with us, time with their grandchildren – just time. I used to get a bit irritated with that comment, as it’s difficult enough to shop for someone who’s lived so long that they really do already have pretty much anything they want.
Now, I get it. Time is the one gift, the one commodity that is priceless. Once spent, it can never be recaptured. Oh sure, my husband unwrapped golf shirts, golf balls and guy gadgets on Sunday, and he appreciated every single gift he received. But the smile on his face, the look he flashed as each of our children arrived, the pure unbridled joy on his face as he flipped burgers and grilled corn to finger-licking perfection, was all the evidence I needed that Sunday was, in fact, a success.
He was in Dad Heaven.
How was your Father’s Day? Did you get to see all of your children?
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” is eagerly expected in late summer 2012.