Saturday, December 29, 2012

Goal #2122: I Want to Hear my Father Tell me that He's Proud of Me

I feel like I’ve always been a disappointment to my dad. I was the first son who never joined the military. The military was a big deal for dad. He was an army man and in the National Guards till the day he died at age 89. He was an honor guard for more than 1,000 vet funerals. I watched his face when the brother just above me received his commission as a commissioned officer. I have never seen my father show so much pride as he was that night.

I disappointed Dad when I joined the LDS faith and decided to serve a 2 year mission rather than go into the military. He thought I was using the mission to avoid serving in the Viet Nam war.

When I went to college he couldn’t understand why I needed to spend all that time and money getting a college education. He told me I’d be much better off finding a job with a company that would give me a good pension plan. When I went on for a Master’s degree, he was quite upset with me. He told me that I was afraid to work in the real world and I was neglecting my family.

My path in life was never the path he had hoped I would follow. He wanted me to be like he was and I could never do that. I just couldn’t live the life he had planned for me and be happy.

When Dad was about 85 years old, we were driving to the airport so I could catch a plane back home. All the way to the airport he kept asking about my brothers and sisters and how they were doing. After about half an hour of this, he finally said, “You know Steve, I’m really proud of you. You’ve done well with your life and you will have a good retirement. You’ve taken good care of your family. You’ve made me proud.”  I could hardly believe that I was actually hearing this from my own father. I had given up on that dream long ago. I waited a long time to hear him say those words but the wait was was worth it. Dad died a few years after that.

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