Parents and children (How the years go by)

The month of June and the year 2010 are turning out to be very special for me and for my two wonderful children, for two great reasons; Chris and Aedan are graduating.

Chris graduated from the University of Winnipeg on Friday, June 11 with his second degree, and Aedan will graduate from St. Paul’s High School with honors on Tuesday, June 29.

Of course, it is special because I love my children very much and because it represents a significant achievement in the lives of both of us.

Chris’s choice to go to college was a pleasant surprise to me and his decision to work towards two degrees was a gift to him and a wonderful gift in my life as his father. Needless to say, I am very proud of the man he is becoming and his accomplishments. In the bigger scheme of things, I never would have expected this to go back several years. But sometimes life is full of pleasant surprises!

I said ‘very’ special but in its own way a bittersweet time for me too because not too many years ago the chances of me being alive to see my son Aedan graduate from St. Paul’s were slim at best.

The fall of 2001 was when I first got sick. Aedan at the time was 9 years old and in fourth grade. In February 2002, I could no longer work and found myself confined to my home or hospital bed when the biggest fight of my life began in earnest, the fight to stay alive long enough to receive a double lung transplant. It finally arrived in August 2003 and just in time. For my three children; Chris, Marnie and Aedan it was a very difficult time, even more so for Aedan because he was very, very young.

My fight to stay alive required me to muster all the emotional, spiritual, and physical strength I could, as well as rely on family, friends, the community, and the medical profession to support me along the way. Part of my process and something that helped me considerably was setting goals. One of the goals I set for myself was to live long enough to see my son Aedan graduate from high school. It’s bittersweet because it’s a happy and joyful time, but it also brings back memories of a dark and difficult period in both Aedan’s life and mine. I have achieved that goal with the help of Aedan! Chris was a bonus!

how the years go by

Many of you have children who just graduated from college or university and/or who are about to graduate from high school this month. And I say to all of you moms and dads, congratulations on all of your perseverance and hard work in getting your kids there! They could not have done it without your support and guidance. I’m sure it has been a labor of love for each of you. Their success is your success and as well as being their celebration it is yours too so bask in and bask in the warmth and glow of a job well done.

My main reason for sharing some of my personal experience and proud moments is to get your attention as well and to particularly remind all the dads around this; “Father’s Day”, that these are “the moments of our lives.” These are the moments that should reflect what we value and cherish most that define us, that are part of our life’s purpose and journey. For our children, of course, graduation represents a significant milestone in their early personal growth and development.

It is also a reflective moment in our lives, as it highlights how quickly the years go by and how the true meaning of life can escape us if we don’t pay attention. Think about it, by the time your child has reached graduation, most of the time you spent living at home will be gone and that’s a scary thought.

He, along with your help and that of his mothers, will have experienced very significant events in his life; beginning, of course, with his birth, it now seems like a long time ago. You’ve witnessed their first words, first steps, learning to ride a bike, kindergarten, going to elementary school, playing on their first sports team, music lessons, starting high school, turning sixteen and driving, dating for the first time, finally graduating high school, and reaching drinking age around the same time as college or university.

Yes, you would have been there or on the periphery to change his diapers, wipe his nose, bandage his wounds, feed him, teach him to dress himself, tie his skates when he started his hockey, take him to practice at 5:30 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, I froze to death cheering from the stands, soccer, basketball, volleyball, football, helping him with homework, playing catch, going to Christmas plays and pageants, teaching him to driving, I would pick him up from high school parties. school when he was drinking and didn’t want to drive, you reminded him of his chores, you sent him out to mow the lawn, shovel the snow, clean his room, the list goes on. You remember it all like it was yesterday and you also remember that the purpose behind your parenting was all to pass on your values, teach responsibility, discipline and a strong work ethic, even though he probably perceived your behavior at the time as crazy. !

During this time, dads often ask these questions; “Did I do the best I could while he was growing up, was I there for him in critical moments, did he feel he could count on me when he needed me? Did I tell him I loved him enough, did I set a good example?” Tough questions when you reflect on time you can’t get back, especially if your self-evaluation holds you back.

Well, my money is on all of you and I bet that, despite all the distractions along the way, you were never far away when needed and that your son knows that about you and respects you for it.

Of course, there are wonderful times ahead for both of you as your child advances to his first official job after finishing school, getting married, buying a house, grandchildren, birthdays and special occasions, as life inevitably begins to repeat itself. Yes, the relationship between father and son is special and any man who makes the decision to have a child and become a father is taking on one of the most important responsibilities in his life so he needs to get it right at least for the most part. weather. Just be patient, your kids will show you how it’s done. And with a bit of luck maybe one day your child will say; “I am my father’s son,” and say it proudly. Then you’ll know you did something right for him and feel the same pride with just a twinge of satisfaction! I hope all of you dads had a great Father’s Day this past Sunday.

one final note

I have been blessed with many things in my life and have surprisingly made very good life decisions. The best decision I ever made was to be a father and it turned out to be the father of three children; two sons and one daughter. Over the course of 40+ years, they have taught me an incredible amount about parenting, but perhaps most of all about myself. I can say on reflection and unequivocally that my children have played a huge role in the man I am today. There’s no doubt that sometimes being a parent has been challenging, but he’s never had any regrets.

They have taught me to be more patient and tolerant, they have taught me the true meaning of surrender and selflessness, without thinking of anything in return, although what comes back is sometimes indescribable. I have become a calmer and gentler person, I learned to notice the simpler things in life, especially when I was younger and also to find a place of calm when everything around me seemed like chaos.

By trying to understand my children’s needs and wants as they grew, I learned that I didn’t have to know everything and that at each stage of my children’s growth I was learning from them. Finally, and in the last seven years, I have learned that I often communicate my best lessons to you through the example I set and my ability to simply listen.

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