This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog.

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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Friend, Father, Family Man ( #AtoZ )


         We play many roles throughout our lives--sometimes significant and other times seemingly trivial.  But it's all important, everything we do, because it all means something even if we don't realize what that meaning is...

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter


Arlee Bird center with the black cap with family in Gatlinburg TN


           When I was a child my father was like a hero to me.  I even made up a song about him when I was about 4 or so.  I'd sing, "I'm Bob Jackson the movie star..." (his name was Bob Jackson).  I don't recall if there were any other lyrics--I guess I just repeated that line.  

            In my teens and early adult years I disagreed with my father often, but his core values were deeply instilled within me.   After having my own children I began to more greatly appreciate the responsibilities of fatherhood.  In my later thirties--perhaps a year or so before my father died--I thanked him for being the father that he had been and the example he had set for my own time at being a father.  He didn't say much in response, but I'm sure he had some kind of appreciation for my having said that.

            After my father died at age 67, I often thought of him as I continued my own fatherhood journey.  Even now, nearly thirty years after his departure from this Earth, my father's presence surrounds me.  These days when I look in the mirror I see my father.  In many ways I have become him, but I have also become my own unique person.

            Now with four children of my own who are on their own raising the next generation, I see myself in that same place I was 30 years ago.  My kids have thanked me for being a good father and teaching them how to deal with life as best as they could.  At this stage of life I am not just a father to my children, but a friend to some fine adults with interesting lives.  They are bringing up a new generation and attempting to give their children a life akin to what they remember having as kids.  The kind that I remember my parents giving to me.

           Years have passed as have both my mother and father.  A few of my friends I still keep in contact with to some extent.  They live far from me as do my brothers and sisters.  Isolated in L.A. is how I sometimes feel.  But that might be okay because a lone castaway dreams bigger sometimes.  My rescue boat may be on its way.

            My father never stopped dreaming--he always  had some big idea that he was sure that would be his next big life thing.  Years after I moved away from home my mother told me how they started going to comedy clubs and my father began to develop his own comedy act that he could perform in those clubs.   And he actually did it on a small scale.  A stunning success was probably part of his comedy dream, but just doing it was a success to a degree though he never became quite the star he might have fancied becoming.  He was having fun and he was pursuing a dream.

          I have no aspirations for comedic stardom, but I have other dreams that keep burning within me.  My father's drive is now compelling me.  I feel him encouraging me onward.  Something needs to happen and it will.  The question is:  What will that something be?   In some sense I know what the something might be and I'm working on it now  I am my father and I am my children's father.  I am who I am and only hope that others will accept me for who I am.

            I choose to be no one else but who I am.  This is me.

           Do you see something of your parents in who you've become?   Were your parents big dreamers or were they discontents?   Have you kept up with friends from younger days or have you mostly departed from them for some reason or another?







34 comments:

  1. So our dads died at the same age- but couldn't have been much different. You had a hero from the start. I had a Harvey Dent of sorts and it took me years after his death to see him as those who only got the "good Harvey" did.

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    1. CW, father and son relationships can be kind of weird. I think it might be generational and many fathers don't know exactly how to relate to their sons. Then also there might be a sort of rivalry in some cases.

      Lee

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  2. My dad died in 1982 at the age of 61, but I still hear some of his warnings and life lessons. To this day, I cannot stand the gas gauge on our car to drop below 1/4 full, because Dad told me so.

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    1. Patricia, parents have a way of getting inside our heads and taking up residence.

      Lee

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  3. My dad died suddenly at age 68 … more than 37 years ago. I'm enormously saddened to realize I can no longer remember his voice; but his words. Ya! Sometimes when I least expect it. Yours is a lovely family, Lee!

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    1. Myra, my father's booming voice still echos in my memory. I hear his laugh. Thanks!

      Lee

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  4. I'm not sure your dad would have enjoyed large scale success MORE. It sounds like he achieved his dream AND had fun doing it. What more can any of us ask?

    Good luck as you pursue your own dreams! It won't take a lot of luck if you know what it is that's burning inside. That will give you all the energy you need.

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    1. Holly, my father had a pretty great life except it was far too short. I hope I can live at least 20 years beyond what he did.

      Lee

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  5. My dad died almost 10 years ago. There's a lot I still miss.

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  6. As I've gotten older, I've come to see more sense in some of the things I disagreed with my parents about, particularly after I saw how my ex's own family lived. I suddenly understood why my parents place so much importance on things like regular housecleaning and keeping a tidy area.

    I'll always be in touch with my dearest, oldest friend, whom I met in September '85, at age five, in the school where I finally found a home after being kicked out of so many other schools for my then-unexplained problems. I believe very strongly she's one of my soulmates in this lifetime. Not all soulmates are romantic partners.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I agree about the soulmate thing. I've had and still have certain friends with whom I feel a kinship deeper than blood.

      Lee

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  7. My Dad's health seemed to go downhill the minute he retired. My mom had plans of travel that flopped after the first post-retirement trip to L.A. where Dad spent 90% of the time sick in a hotel.

    My goal is to enjoy family and friends far into retirement and I'm trying to do positive changes to improve health and happiness in my life. Hubzam and I have plans!

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    1. Cherdo, may we live to a hundred and then beyond in excellent shape. Make more plans on top of the old ones.

      Lee

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  8. Do you see something of your parents in who you've become? I have kept many of my parents values. Were your parents big dreamers or were they discontents? Other than my dad wanted to move out of Chicago & move west of same. I always wanted to fulfill his dream. You see my Dad died at 57. He was a road (truck) driver all his life. Dad died of lung Cancer. I swore I would more where he wanted too & I did. I made it out here 19 yrs. ago with my kids & I'm glad I got them out of Chicago too. It was me & them. I remember looking up to the sky and saying, "We're HERE"! Have you kept up with friends from younger days or have you mostly departed from them for some reason or another? I have kept up with 1 friend we've known each other 42 yrs. now. The others not so much. I mostly hung out with my cousins. Go figure! Have a great weekend!

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    1. Dolly, in '91 the company I was working for offered the choice to manage a branch in Chicago or one in Los Angeles. That was an easy choice at the time but now has led to some interesting ramifications.

      I always wished I could hang out with cousins but we lived far from all of them so I never really go to know many of them.

      Lee

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  9. I can certainly relate to your first two paragraphs; I went through the same stuff at the same ages as you did with your dad. The older I get, the more I appreciate both my dad and mum.

    https://seal-of-melchizedek.blogspot.com/2019/04/fort-lauderdale-florida-fort-collins.html

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    1. Duncan, I think most young men go through a kind of rebellious stage.

      Lee

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  10. This brought a tear to both my eyes- have been feeling much of what it seems you are recently-- so cool that your father did his comedy thing-😊

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    1. Lynn, it's good to reminisce now and then as long we don't let it consume us.

      Lee

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  11. My dad early - 53 in 1970. What did I see in him? A good man struggling with alcoholism that made him a terrible husband and father when he was drunk. Sober - he could be a wonderful man. My guiding light was my mom who loved and stayed with him for 24 years although I never understood it. In the end I know she did love him and was honoring a vow - made before God - better or worse. She was my hero because she raise 2 girls in that mess of a life to be happy and whole people. Thank God for that parent - male or female - that raises children to be normal happy and productive people. Some folks didn't even have one!

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    1. Knitter, I had several friends who had fathers with drinking problems, but rarely did I hear of anybody getting divorces. A strong mother can really keep a family together.

      Lee

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  12. Lovely heartfelt post Arlee. I like that you said your father instilled deep core values in you.And that your children have thanked you for being the parent you were, because of the way your father was...
    I see my mother every day .. even though she has been dead many a year; I see my father too, dead even longer - I think coming up for 30 years. But they are here, and there and everywhere.

    I choose to be no one else but who I am. This is me.

    This is a wonderful statement .. (I heard somewhere about 'i choose to be no one but who I am': well, how you can be otherwise, the others are taken!)

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    1. Susan S, I hope my kids remember me much like I remember my own father. I think they will.

      Lee

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  13. My dad died about 30 years ago and I still miss him. I hope that I've been a good mom to my kids (they do thank me) and I know what you mean about being friends with them now that they are adults. Great post, Arlee.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Janet, what our kids do as adults is a reflection of the job we did as parents.

      Lee

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  14. My dad is my hero always has been, he could do anything and fix anything, as a teenager my grandmother asked me what type of man I wanted to marry,my answer one like dad and guess what i did, Tim is a lot like my dad, the older he gets the more like dad he gets.

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    1. Jo-Anne, it would be a high compliment to be compared to one's own good father.

      Lee

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  15. This is beautiful and I loved reading this and that you shared it with us. My dad died I. 1988 at the age of 75. Your dad was too young in my book. I was 23 when he died, soon to be 24 and I wished he would have been here longer as we had a difficult ultntime when I was a teen. He was so much older and didn’t know how to deal with a teen girl. I had problems as well and didn’t understand his way but I think we were beginning to make headway’s before he died. I do see more of my dad I. Me than my mom but I hope I have both. I cherish them and they were huge dreamers and survivors. My dad wanted to have an elephant working at the sawmill to bring the logs over! He was serious too. I believe in dreams because, sometimes, that’s all we have

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    1. Birgit, I've been dreaming of elephants lately too--in a metaphorical sense.

      Lee

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  16. I see parts of my father in me, too. This was a lovely tribute to him and the kind of father he was. I'm glad your children appreciate you too!

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    1. Lisa, it gives me such an uplifted feeling when my kids say something good about me.

      Lee

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  17. My Dad lived a life of unfulfilled dreams. Auschwitz took over his mental, and emotional, state. He was very intelligent and would have excelled as a professor of some kind. Most likely languages. He knew an amazing amount, gleamed from multi-lingual upbringing and his time spent in the camp.

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    1. Stuart, that's pretty sad. I wouldn't say a wasted life, but certainly not one that met hopes or expectations.

      Lee

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Lee