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My most important job

I am writing this on Father’s Day 2023. My wife left town a couple days ago to travel with her sister. The responsibility of walking the dogs fell to me this morning.


While walking I thought about Father’s Day, and particularly, my stepfather, Andy. Andy passed away a few years ago.


In the fourth grade my parents divorced, and about a year later my mom married Andy. I do not think I was very cooperative or happy about the change. Eventually we moved from Texas to Kansas to begin my seventh-grade year in middle school.


As I was walking this morning, I thought about Andy’s role in raising me. He supported me in so many ways. He showed up at every sporting or other school event. He took me “hunting” with express purpose of a discussion about “the birds and the bees”. When my heart broke, he was there. When I celebrated, he was there. When I missed my real dad, Andy was there assuring me how much my dad loved and missed me too.


Andy worked hard to encourage me to work at an early age. I got my first job in the seventh grade working in a grocery store, and only forty years later did I learn that he actually paid my salary at the beginning of that job to get my boss to give me that opportunity. Interesting, the occupation I learned at that grocery store I kept for over 10 years.


Andy was instrumental in getting me to go to college. When I wanted to drop out, he gave me space and counsel, and generally encouraged me to re-enroll. When I decided to re-enroll in college, I discovered he had already packed all of my clothes and belongings in my car so I could take off immediately and not miss a day of school.


After college, Andy found me a job while I tried to figure out my destiny. When I eventually got accepted to law school, no one was more proud than Andy.


Andy was supportive of me as a lawyer, but my transition to elder law thrilled him. We talked several times a week as I entered elder law, and he gave me pointers on what difficult issues people with a chronic illness or aging were facing. He very much became my partner in designing my practice.


I know that not only will I pass on "Andy lessons" to my sons, they will pass them on as well- perhaps for generations. Andy was my father, my advisor, my confidant, and my biggest cheerleader. Most importantly, he was always there. I hope that I am the father to my sons that Andy was to me. As Andy taught me, being a father was, is, and will continue to be my most important job.


Yorumlar


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