There are few real yardsticks for measuring parenthood.
Today we leave early, with a long ride of 88 miles, 95 degree heat, and 10 mph headwinds. An early departure is essential with such conditions. There are 4 of us heading west past farmland, a Campbell’s Tomato Soup Factory, and scattered wind farms.
We pull into Napoleon for a planned Father’s Day breakfast but nothing is open…so we settle for food from our bins.
I am antsy to get going where as my riding partners decide to stay for coffee and treats. A natural White Rabbit mode sets in and I am gone to protests from them.
“See you at the end.”
I hear from behind me one of the riders I know from before “ Well, the White Rabbit is back in mode.”
Down river I speed at 15mph against the headwinds and pull into Defiance Ohio for a Subway breakfast.
As I enter I see two beautiful children with their mother just ahead of me and I have pangs of homesickness for the past when I had a small son.
To both of them: “ I’m a long way from home and it’s Father’s Day. Can I take your pictures?”
The mother, stunningly beautiful, coaxes them on but the younger girl gets malignantly shy and hides in the folds of her mother’s dress. Her brother, a ham, has no problem posing for me.
Their mother asks about the ride while waiting for their order and I explain.
As she leaves, in the kindest voice I have heard in weeks she says ” Happy Father’s Day” and leaves.
As I approach to pay, the cashier smiles and says “ You owe nothing, she paid. She said to tell you it was your Father’s Day present”.
I rush outside to catch the departing car and thank her as she leaves “ You’re welcome” with a gorgeous smile…yet another prize for me.
After I load my camel pack with ice and water and head down the road I think about being a father on this Sunday in June.
I know few measures to decide how good a father I have been, but I think if I look to my son then I can get a hint at how well I have done.
Long ago I thought that if he turned out better than me then I had done my job.
And now for the yardstick:
He is smarter than me…I understand almost nothing of his job dealing with a Theoretical Physics…
He plays the violin better than I do…no doubt about this.
He speaks Italian better than I do, and Spanish too ( he doesn’t speak Russian…yet…)
He is more athletic than I ever was.
He is an extremely gentle, caring person…the Nuns had to whip this into me… he came by it naturally…
He is better looking than me…Last time we were both in Florence Italy I noticed the women checking him out and…ignoring me…
He is a wonderful father, so patient with his daughter who may end up the smartest of all…
And he is a wonderful son, better than I ever was to my father.
So on this Father’s Day I salute him for surpassing me.
And as for my Father’s Day? A beautiful woman bought me breakfast and the White Rabbit got a yellow jersey by 1 hour over 88 miles in 95 degree heat.
I do know one thing about my son…it takes him an hour to put on his socks while he ponders the meaning of the Universe.
I doubt he will ever surpass the White Rabbit on a cross country ride.
Good thing there is at least one achievement I still own…
I also kinda doubt he talks to an Angel riding a Cow…