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LUCKY GARVIN: The Parental Harvest

Lucky Garvin

It is the evening of Father’s Day 2014. I sit in my darkened office, feet up, pensively watching the last rays of the evening sun etch the sky as in a reluctant leave-taking. I am lost in thought; moreso wonder and gratitude.

I am thinking, wondering what I did to earn the five awards I received today. Two notices came by card, three by phone. All from my kids. They could shop all they want and could never have sent me gifts more precious than these.

They are all grown to adulthood, long having been absent from our home – other than frequent visits – yet the impressions I made on each of them lingers. What modeling I might have done, whether those appreciative impressions come osmotically, didactically, or by observation, or all three, I don’t know.

For much of my parenting life, they evidently studied me in secret. In my own early years, I was taught more than I learned; the learning came later, alas, much later. It took me decades to seek out those lessons of my childhood worth keeping and detect those which were toxic and needed to be jettisoned, lest I pass them along to my kids. Thank God they waited a while for me to grow up before they started modeling me!

The calls and letters assured me of my worth to them as father, guide and mentor.

From my step son: You have always been there for me. Your guidance and wisdom have been instrumental in my life. You’ve become the father I’ve always wanted.

From one of my blood-sons: Whenever I’m about to make a decision, I listen for your voice to tell me if my intended option will turn out for good or ill.

From all the other kids, much the same. Although I am not physically with them, my counsel is there; a voice which continues to speak to them though they have all long since left to make their own way through life.

I know my oldest daughter Kelly, sees to it that her children will continue to know their Grandpa between their visits. I will not become ‘lost’ to them.

Though I’m not sure, I guess how kids take our parental measure is what they watch: observe what makes you angry or doesn’t, and, if angered, how do you respond; what you forgive, what sets you to grieving, and what you do about sorrow, and how you express your love.

Whatever those determinants may be, and I am sure there are many, tonight I am a contented, if somewhat perplexed, father.


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