Sunday, January 30, 2011

CONTEST: A son's love for his father

We received a beautiful contest entry from a reader who goes by the handle Jackson, responding to the Jan. 28 fortune, "Someone is looking up to you. Don't let that person down."

I wish I had written this myself, because it echoes how I feel about my own father. Be sure to grab a box of tissues before reading. Thanks for sharing it, Jackson.

Before thinking of whom might be looking up to me, my father came to mind, and how much like him I have turned out to be. I don't remember ever thinking "I want to be like my father," but it happened, for better and for worse. The older I grow the more of him I see in me, and the more proud I am for having unconsciously emulated him.

A couple of years ago I wrote this for my father on his birthday:

As I looked at myself in the mirror this morning,

Goatee sprinkled with gray,

I saw you looking back at me.

I found myself thinking of how much of me comes from you.

My way with people, ability to persuade, to build consensus, comes from you.

The gift of language, of vocabulary, and a love for reading are gifts from you.

The way I pause and think of just the right words…

The way I withdraw when I’m depressed…

The ability to stay calm when those around are agitated…

The deep abiding love for my children…

And for my father…

And the difficulty I have expressing that love,

All come from you.

I am my father’s son.

And I am proud.

Now I see my 23 year-old son adopting my strengths and foibles, and I wonder will he pass them on? I hope he has looked up to me as I have my father.