Prior to our sons’ paternal grandfather passing last month (my wife’s former father-in-law), there was a birthday party for a one-year old great-grandson that he attended. It was a time of celebration and taking pictures. One image they made was striking. Four generations of Gomez, great-grandfather (age 92), grandfather (my wife’s ex), father (our eldest) and his son, sitting together in one picture. I didn’t mind the whole scene – I didn’t clumsily try to join in with the clowning around between two eldest sons,or the younger, Uncle Tommy with nephew Zander, As former husband and current husband, the absentee and the present father’s go, we all have our joys and sorrows, missed opportunities and moments to celebrate.
The joy of grandchildren is something that my father never got to experience. From dim memories and images of me being carried around by my paternal grandfather, I expect my dad would have been a wonderful grandfather. Wisdom and intellect, and a sense of humor that my paternal aunt continues to regale me with memories, certificates, and pictures. When I was three, he had a stroke and my mother helped take over everything while he recovered. But our family never did and they divorced. My dad pointedly told people who confused his stroke damaged body with dim-witted, that his body was slow but his mind was sharp. My last memories of him were colored by an argument over my future, a relationship and my “lack” of career ambitions.
For “my” children and grandchild, I am everything that my father and grandfather passed down to me; I am remolded and resolute through the tempering the Navy provided, and I have the character refined through experience and purpose as a disciple of Jesus. I know my father would appreciate everything my family has become.
Happy birthday, Dad. (1932 – 1989)