Blog 1366 – 06.16.2019
“The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love”
Much is said of Mothers on Mother’s Day and rightfully so for they are often unsung heroes in the war for our souls. But dads too are in many cases willing combatants in that conflict equally willing to give their all to insure the best success of their children. Some years ago I bought an O. D. Green (Olive Drab) tee-shirt that has in bold black letters on the front: “Dad – The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love.” I wear it often throughout the year to remind me that I had a wonderful dad and that I have tried to be one for my children.
My daughter Em has departed this life and this will be my seventh Father’s Day without her. Sons just do not make a big deal about Dad’s Day the way that daughters do. But I am proud of my grown son, Jon, Jay, Jonathan. When he was about the age that he was in the above picture I often called him, “You Little Terrorist” for the way he seemed to be willing to do anything to get his way. I remember writing in a blog recently that what we see in others is only a reflection of something we do not wish to see in ourselves. Ouch, Amen, or I am the man.
I loved Jonathan David James Wallace White even before he was born. I was actually praying for his arrival forty years before he was born – every day I was in South Vietnam in 1970. The second and third of his middle names are his grandpas and they are both gone now. I hope he outlives the first of those three middle names too – me. But then I intended for Emily to do that as well but she must have learned enough about living and loving in thirty-two years to earn herself an “early release.” That is what they called getting out of your military enlistment early for special circumstances like going to college. I received one of those early releases.
Oh, I am not asking for an early release from this life but as a loving parent I would gladly tack whatever time I have left onto Jay’s life span to insure that he outlives me and has a longer and more rewarding life. I have had a great time and have hung around long enough to become quite found of myself – given a chance I grow on anyone even myself. I might buy myself a new Father’s Day shirt this year. The best buys are after Father’s Day.
So Son, save your money to spend on my grandchildren that you will father perhaps someday. You already gave me the greatest gift a child ever could – you were born and made me a dad for the second time. In one of my favorite songs to sing, “Little Rock” by Collin Ray, there is the line where the singer quotes the girl’s dad saying after he had disappointed her terribly, “You know your daddy told me when I left, ‘Jesus would forgive but a daddy don’t forget.” I know what he meant but true love and forgiveness always involve a lot of forgetting. For all the wonderful memories I have of you, I hope you will forgive me and in time forget all the things, that I did and said wrong, and I hope you are twice the dad I ever was. There may be hope for me yet, my daddy was a far better grand dad than a dad. Some of us do get better with practice.
You friend and fellow traveler,
Jonathan White’s Dad,