Friday, December 11, 2009

9125 days

-Those who know me know that I take great pride in being a Dad. I say Dad (capitalized) because, as I've written here before, being a Dad isn't nearly as easy as being a father. In short, anyone with the proper functioning equipment can be a father. To be a Dad, you have to earn the title. That means actually caring for, and loving with all your heart, that little person you helped to create...watching that person grow..and teaching him or her, when possible, how to avoid life's pitfalls and problem spots. It means being there when needed and providing as much support for the life that young person wants to live as possible. Of course, there's much more...but if you have that first part right (the loving) usually most everything else somehow falls into place. For me, the loving part has been easy. It came as naturally as breathing. Providing all the support I'd like to for what my two sons have wanted to do with their lives...well, that hasn't been nearly as easy as I'd like it to be.

Still..both sons have both turned out to be what I consider to be exceptional people. I'd like to think that's partly because they had an OK Dad. I know they had a Mom who is as good as they get.

It was 25 years ago today that I was given the honor of becoming a father for the second time. Ian will turn 30 next year. Stewart is 25 today. Which got me to thinking. Just how much time have I had to influence their paths? It seems like a blink...a moment...a flash. In Stewart's case, its a quarter century...which sounds like a long time. But let's analyze a bit.

1 year = 365 days x 25 years = 9,125 days.

Of those days, on average, 8 hours was spent sleeping. Another 8 hours was usually spent working (by me) or at school (by him). My work frequently required me to be away in the evening (Blues, Grizzlies, broadcasting a game, etc.) maybe on average 3 days a week. On those days I may not have seen my son(s) at all. That would be 156 days a year x 25= 3,900 days. (close to half of those 9125 days). Even on the days we were many hours was it? 3...4?

After the time the boys went to high school..and especially after they started driving...there have been many more days where our time together was extremely limited. After hours socializing, away at college, etc. I'll say 30 percent of the days since high school have allowed for little or no interaction. I think that's conservative. 9 years (since turning 16) =3285x 30% = 985.5 days + the above 3900 = 4885.5 days.

So, having done the math (give or take a few days) I have been a part of less than half of the days Stewart has lived...most of those occuring since he started high school. And of the days I have been a part...just a few hours of those days.

Taking all this in has made me very wistful about the days of being a young Dad...grateful for having married a special woman who is a great mother...happy for, and proud of, how these young men now conduct themselves as adults...and sad about the scant time that I now spend with "my boys". I will resolve to consider very precious the time that both are home this year for Christmas.

Those of you reading this who are...or plan to be... Dads, enjoy and savor each and every moment of your offspring's youth..for it will certainly be gone in an instant. And while 25 years seems like a long's not nearly as long as it sounds. Do the math.

Happy Birthday Stewart! I'm proud to be your Dad.

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