I had a typically boy upbringing, not saying it was right, but I was told big boys don’t cry. To this day, it takes a lot for me to show emotion (to my wife’s dismay). This is a preamble to what happened at the end of my vacation.
My parents divorced when I was seven or eight and my mother felt the need to move us to Florida. I understand that it was because she had family in Florida that could help her and us three kids. It wouldn’t be until many many many years later that I realized that my father had no idea that was coming. He never mentioned it when we would visit and he never spoke ill of my mother. Quite the contrary on the other hand.
During my trip to see him in August 2009, we were sitting in his living room when he said I have something I want to give you and if I don’t do it now I will forget. I had no clue what it could be. He stood up and started rummaging through a little cabinet and pulled out a very old photo album. He scanned through it and found an old photo from a photo booth of him and my mom. I am pretty sure my mom destroyed any pictures she may have had of him, so this was very precious to me and a very welcomed surprise. We then looked through some of the other photos of him at a very tough time. He was in Vietnam and of course looked much different than he does today.
On the day I got home from vacation, I called to let him know I arrived safely and to thank him again for the picture. We had a great talk and at the end he told me he was proud of me. I think that may be the first time I have heard that from him. We hung up moments later and I sat on the couch very happy with tears in my eyes. I sat with it for a couple of minutes and then got up to do some chores in the kitchen.
I continued to think about it and had more tears come to me. At that time my wife had come out of the bedroom, and I just couldn’t hold them back. I was full out crying, she was terrified that something horrible had happened, and I was trying to tell her everything was ok, but I just couldn’t get the words out. She hugged me for a minute or so until I could mutter the words, “He told me he was proud of me…”
Thank you dad!