Memories of parents often fill our heads as we move out into the world. There used to be a sign at the Kinko’s near the Campus of Indiana University that made me laugh. When I was five, the sign said my dad was 10 feet tall. When I was ten, my dad was the best. When I was fifteen, I often wondered if dad could tie his shoes. When I was 18, I just knew dad was wrong. When I was 25, I realized dad wasn’t the smartest, but he wasn’t the dumbest either. Then my first child was born. I found myself asking, “what would dad have done?” That transition is one that many children experience. Sometimes we don’t even think about it, and it just happens as we grow through life.
But the memories those, evolve as well. I know I was a difficult teenager for my parents. I was the oldest child. I am the reason my parents had to make rules about many things because I was the first to do those things. As the oldest, I was often the one that was caught, more because, like the first, I was often an easy target. But as the oldest and a big brother, my job was to break the rules. At least with the reality of time and the passage of time, I tell myself that. I have many faces of my father in my memories. I have faces of my mother in my memories. The face of approval, the face of why did you do that, and of course, the face of well you screwed up.
But I know now that I also knew the face of love. Early in my life, my dad was a person that always had time for me. Later he was gone often, but we would play catch with a small Indiana University plastic football in the back yard. Or we would put on the baseball gloves and throw the ball in the backyard. I was never the athlete my father was, but my father was never the athlete I was either. Where he was someone that was a runner and football player, I was a swimmer. I beat my dad in a footrace when I was 30. I beat my dad swimming when I was 9. I grew up in the land of Basketball (Indiana is famous as a state that loves Basketball). Dad stopped paying me when I was 12. But he could outrun me well into my 20s!