I guess that I could have declared this sooner than now, but today I say "I am no longer the father of boys. I am a dad to men." This Father's Day weekend seems the appropriate time to state so.
In the past nine months, the oldest had a child, the middle son got engaged and the youngest graduated from high school. Each is thoughtful and thought-filled; each is strong willed and compassionate; and, none desires to be a clone of anyone. Each is their own man.
On Saturday, all three served as honorary pallbearers at the funeral of a friend of the family who we first met in 1994. As I watched them, listened to them, and shared with them, it was clear that these men relished the stories of their youth and the people who have entered-and left-their lives. They are not afraid to be touched by humanity, or by their own humaneness.
Each of these men have dreams, and own their responsibilities-each is doing it their own way, and none of them are doing it perfectly, a reality they accept with grace, though humbleness can sometimes be hard to come by. They are McInnises, after all.
I have learned more about the latter truth this weekend, too, as I have been reconnected to my dad's niece who I have not seen since I can't remember when. In our correspondence, she is sharing stories of my dad, his family and heritage that I have not heard before, or have not heard with the nonjudgmental honesty that I am getting from her. When I read that dad was disciplined with razor straps, belts, and plow reins, I further appreciated his strength and courage to not replicate that behavior with his own children. Instead, he renounced it completely. My mother, too, was disciplined harshly as a child, and she, too, swore to never do the same. I see that the courage that I have witnessed in my sons-courage of many types-comes to them naturally. They are McInnises, after all.
And this Father's Day, I am a grandfather. A proud one to a beautiful girl who will grow up to be thoughtful and thought-filled, strong willed and compassionate, her own woman who owns her dreams and responsibilities, and who moves through life with courage. She is a McInnis, after all.
I am a proud father. I am a proud son. And now I am also a proud father in-law, and proud grandfather. And blessed to have the relationships I have-new, old and re-found.
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.