Every good parent wants what is best for his or her children. Every good parent has a responsibility to raise their children until they reach adulthood and beyond. Every good parent looks towards their kid’s future (first days of school, vacations, first dates, high school and college graduations, marriage, success, and eventually grandkids) with hope and a bright outlook. All of these moments make for great memories. But good parents, mostly, live in the day to day of raising their children. Most times the day-to-day is not memorable. Some days the kids get the best of us, where we want to bang our heads against a wall. But most times, parents get the best of the kids, where we can relish in the smallest of achievements of our little ones.
As a parent sometimes I need to be reminded to make everyday memorable. Sure, I look forward to my children’s major accomplishments in the future, but I admit I often get caught up in my life that I miss the little things that are happening today, right in front of me. I often think, what if I am not around to see my son graduate? What if I don’t make it for their wedding? And I realize that I need to make sure that I enjoy them right now and smother them in love and happiness.
I cannot picture my children’s lives without me in them. I want to teach them how to hit a baseball. I want to help them with their homework. I want to show them how to shave. I want to video tape their graduation. I want to witness them marry and have kids. Some of this may sound selfish but some of it is payback for all the long sleepless nights that parents get due to worry. Some of the role of being a parent is not selfish but for every major accomplishment they achieve I know I will be proud, proud of the fact that they are mine. That sense of pride is for me. Maybe it is selfish to want to witness all of this but I know …hell I don’t know. Yodas and shit.
My kids are younger than 3 at this point and I still feel the need to be part of their future lives. Think about it, just picture for a minute, you as a parent not being able to share those major stages of life with your kids. It hurts doesn’t it?
Back in March I posted (click here for the story) about my friend “Horace”. In the post I asked for information about different doctors and the blog-o-sphere came through with tons of info and recommendations, for which I am very grateful. My friend “Horace” whose real name is Dan Howard has passed away. He was 35. He left behind a wife and a two-year-old daughter named Mara. Dan was a good parent. He wanted to be a part of Mara's future. He wanted what was best for her. It is very sad.
The last time I spoke to Dan, which was a while ago, I told him that I loved him. Which is something at the time, I am sure, felt as awkward for him as it did for me. But I am thankful that, at least, I got to tell him. Dan and his family were strong and I am sure that when he finally passed, he was at peace with his situation. But what really pains me, to the point of tears, is knowing that, no matter how positive he stayed through his ordeal, is that somewhere in the recesses of his mind he knew he was not going to see his daughter grow up here on this earth. That he would not be able to teach her to hit a ball. That he would not video her graduation. That he would not be the one to give her away at her wedding. And, that, to me, is a burden that no parent should have to deal with. The fact that I know Dan well enough to know he was thinking these thoughts makes me weep.
Hug your kids today. Tell someone that you love, that you love them today.
Dan was out of work while fighting the cancer. I am sure he had huge medical bills. Dan’s family has set up a fund for Mara’s future. Please go to Mara Howard Fund (click for link or go to www.marahowardfund.org) and read Dan’s story and if you can, donate a little something for Mara’s future. They have it set up that they can accept checks and PayPal. If you have some loose change in your PayPal account (and it is not enough to buy that Yuengling Lager((Dan Loved Yuengling)) beer tap you wanted on Ebay) please send it to Mara.