This isn’t your average birthday. Today I become the age of my father in the year of his passing.
At 20 years old, I had absolutely no idea the profound impact his death would have on my life. In retrospect, many important decisions have been directly influenced by his absence, and I’ve often made decisions out of fear that I would have only those same number of years on Earth. For what seemed like an eternity, I viewed 2014 with dread.
As my children become young men, I’ve left the fear and doubt behind and replaced it with an air of determination; a desire to be a part of their lives in much the same way that I am certain I would have wanted my dad to be in mine. While boys need their mothers, young men need their fathers, as the decisions they face are best measured in the crucible of another man’s experience. We may occasionally chafe at our fathers direction, but the advice is almost always given from a loving place. Just because I was unfortunate doesn’t mean that life is doomed to repeat itself, and fear is a tough place from which to live your life.
So, for those of you celebrating with me today, know the context of this landmark, and do me a special favor. Hug your children and call your Dad (ok, you can call your mom, too). Tell them how much you love them. You never know when you won’t be able to again.