Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Of fathers

I went to the river on “Fathers’ day” because it was an especially hard day for me. I had lost my dear father exactly 3 months and 1 week before. It was as if when he vanished along with the hour we skipped when jumping ahead to the summer time... With all that has happened since in my life, I have not been able to row, which only made me feel worse. I have fallen again in the same trap many of us often fall into: when things get really rough, we let ourselves carried away and completely forget to take the time we needed to tap into our inner sources of strength.  Why did I deny myself for so long taking the time to be on the water, rowing my single scull at dawn, when it had helped me recover my peace and overall strength so many times before?
On this particular morning I went out on the river later than usual, so I was not very surprised to find myself surrounded by a large number of leisure boats. However, after passing a number of them I realized that the average age on the river was much lower than usual. Every boat carried an adult male and one or more children. Apparently paddling or fishing with one’s kids is a popular way to spend Fathers’ day. I rarely see such mixed age crews more often on the river - I wonder why?
We did not observe Fathers’ day as I was growing up in my native country. I thought of my dad, and tried to think about leisurely activities we had shared. My father used to be a very busy professional and I was a girl. I do remember the three of us (with mom) hiking and the many week-ends when he drove us, my mother and I, out of town to picnic into the nearby woods. He loved to grill and would gather the needed dry wood while I loved sauntering around him picking wild flowers (I gave up on helping with gathering the wood since it never seemed to pass his quality inspection).  Upon returning from the woods, on many Sunday afternoons, I would sit next to my dad and watch soccer together with him, I became a fan of his team – if he ever wished he had a son to watch with instead, he never mentioned it to me…
Actually I cannot remember my father taking me out on the water or participating to some fun activities only with me (mom seems to have been always included). However, I do remember him spending serious quality time with me so many times: explaining, rationalizing, sometimes disciplining, other times encouraging me.  So, where ever the tumultuous stream of my life has taken me, I knew my father was always in my boat. I hope he still is…

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