When Dreams Soar like Kites examines the author’s relationship with his father and the sacrifices he made in an effort to make his children more successful.
As the week draws to a welcomed end, I’ve decided to take a moment to glance back to the beginning of July. When I first started this blog, it was meant to serve the purpose of having to actively find a reason each day to keep living. As I watched the progression of my posts, which slowly turned from objective articles to revealing personal reflections, I realized a couple of things. First, that the community of support standing behind me has grown fiercer and larger than ever. Second, that I find myself inexplicably drawn to revealing more about myself each time I press “Publish” on an article for my blog. And third, that each member of my immediate family has had a post dedicated to them aside from my father. As a man whose continued sacrifices have allowed me to inherit the life that I have now, I will waste not another day before expressing what he’s taught me. Without further ado, this one’s for you Dad.
Within my immediate family, it is easy to define the roles each of us play in a few words: my mother is our heart-strong leader, my eldest brother the comedian, and the middle the rogue pawn. For myself, I have often found that my assigned “trait” has been that of the capable one who doesn’t need to try very hard to earn a favorable result. My family often says it is a trait that I inherited from my father, who need only set his mind to doing something in order to become a master at it. From early childhood, he has dutifully fulfilled his role as worker and provider; it is a long-standing joke that my father was “absentee”, as he spent more time in the office than at home. But when he wasn’t at the office, he played carpenter to build his son a house, tiling expert to any aunt or uncle in need of a remodeled bathroom, and father to three children who oftentimes fail to recognize the sacrifices he made to give us all a better life.
It is no secret that my brothers and I spent the majority of our childhood under the watchful eye of a well-meaning mother. We were raised with the greatest lessons and values an Italian, Catholic mother could offer: hard-earned humility, a desire to help others, and an profound ease in engaging in conversation with adults and other company. There were, however, some things my mother failed to teach us as she juggled all of our varied and often overwhelming needs: the key to shaving, how to properly throw a football, and how to talk to girls. These were things, I had always believed, that a father is meant to teach their son. I remember years of stories told in schools about father’s who took their sons to baseball games or annual fishing trips. Green with jealousy, I recall thinking about all of the times I might have had with him if my father had only come home earlier from work. Though the choices he made during my childhood kept us at a distance from him, there are lessons which I learned in the quiet moments of his company that I would like to share before this article comes to a close.
I learned, through playing catch at the park, that I was indeed not an athlete. At the first of my father’s underhand throws, the concept of “catch” slipped from my mind as the baseball hit me squarely on the head. It became clear, as I stood to my feet and walked the ball back to him, that my mind was better suited to the stationary pages of books. I also learned about the wonders of nature, when I watched, awestruck, as ravenous piranhas devoured a school of goldfish while I couched with my brothers behind my father’s desk. I learned about the value of a father and a bottle of Miller Lite when I sat at a bar with him two years ago, beside myself about my first experience with unrequited love. And I learned then, too, that there would have been no depth my father would have sank to in order to relieve his suffering son from heartbreak.
Once, my father came home early from work with four kites he had bought from the store. They were beautiful: multicolored parrots, a fish with moving fins, each of a unique animal that my father gave to each of us. As we stood in the field of the Blue Park, with my brothers’ kites flying on gusts of wind, my father leaned down and put the spool in my hand. It was harder for me then, with my short legs and little lungs, to gain enough speed to keep my kite aloft. But slowly, surely, after many tries, I managed to do it all on my own. But without the words my father had spoken, the encouragements and suggestions he had made, my kite would never have risen from the ground.
But that is the role that my father has played. He has been, at every stage, a man whose mission was to set up his children for success by giving us the tools to do it. He is not my mother, who would have done the work for me in order to see my smile as my kite soared through the air. He is a man to whom life has handed nothing and has learned the value of becoming a hero to yourself. He is a man who, despite his flaws and faults of his past, still tries to learn and find another way of doing things. He is a man who I am proud to call my father. So shaving? I taught myself that. Sports? I’ve never liked them anyways. And talking to girls? Turns out that lesson was never really a necessity for me. So to the man whose built his life on improving the lives of others, thank you. I know that I would not be standing here today as a son, a writer, or a man without the effort you provided. Thanks Pops.