That would be my grandson, Vinnie, just about to clear 13′. When I sent this picture and a video to my brother John, he reminded me that our dad pole vaulted in high school! That would have been around 1932, in DuBois, PA. Our dad was a super athlete, and musician. He was the captain and tailback of the football team at Susquehanna University, and first chair first in the orchestra!
Anyway, that’s Vinnie up there. Jennie’s youngest son. He is a junior at Lafayette College. Studying something I don’t understand. There is a lot I don’t understand these days.
I was so proud. Is proud the right word? No. Proud is when you feel a certain satisfaction after a success or accomplishment. I had very little to do with Vinnie’s feat. Jennie has everything to do with it.
Jennie, the Jennie I described in the previous blog entry, is a terrific mom. As good as a mom can get. Loving. Persistent. Generous. Involved. Consistent. Just plain sweet. Jennie is one of the kindest human beings I have ever known.
Back to proud. Jennie should be proud. I should just be Grateful.
Grateful that after years of being an absentee father, she took me back. I drank. That is not an excuse, just a fact. The drinking was merely a symptom of the soul sickness I was suffering from. I had been hurt badly in the divorce. I didn’t deal with that hurt in a very mature manner. I drank and ran. Meanwhile, my grandsons were growing up. Tony is grandson number one. He recently graduated from Buffalo University with a degree in something else I don’t understand. I know it was in the School of Engineering. Vinnie is grandson number two.
These two were growing up under the loving care of Jennie and her husband Tim, while I was drinking and running. I was an absentee father and grand father.
With a daughter like Jennie, it’s never too late to correct this horrendous behavior. She has forgiven me. She has encouraged her boys to love me. Through it all.
I began going to Kelly’s tennis matches last year. Kelly being my hiker friend and now daughter number 3. Her father wasn’t around much when she was a kid. Kelly is a super achiever. Academically and athletically. I have been there watcher her matches to support her in her new job as the Head tennis coach at the University of Delaware.
Kelly has taught me how to be a better dad. Sort of a dad with a clean slate. That new dad slowly realized that I needed to support my other daughter Jennie and her sons. Without the opportunity to practice being a good dad with Kelly, I may have never felt confident enough to be a better dad to Jennie, and a better grandad.
I had the best time at the track meet. I let go of the past. I just enjoyed my daughter and her boys.
Was I proud? Maybe, but the overwhelming feeling was gratitude. I have been given the gift of sobriety through sheer Grace. I had very little to do with it. My job on the planet now is to live in response to that Gift.
Grateful is what I am feeling, what I felt at that meet. I have a daughter. I have two fantastic grandsons. It’s about time I be the dad and grandfather I am supposed to be.
I’m going to enjoy this. 😊