I wrote the following for Father’s Day in 2002. It was published in the Dallas Morning News on June 12, 2002.
“Hey Dad, Look at Me”
“Hey Dad, look at me.” That’s what dads are for. You go to dad when you’re right proud of yourself. “Look, Dad, no hands.” “Hey Dad, I made the team.” “We won the game, Dad.”
Recently, on an international trip, I had two firsts. I sent e-mails from the airport inZurich, and I plugged my laptop into a power outlet on the airplane. Even though I was a few years late and way behind the curve in such matters, I felt the urge to tell my dad what I had done. He is long gone, but he couldn’t have related to my accomplishments anyway. He never would have been part of the New Economy, and he never would have owned a laptop or any of its other toys. But I could have told him it was a big deal, and he would have believed me. And he would have been proud of me. Dads are proud of their sons. It’s part of their job description, and it’s what sons strive for.
There are no good substitutes for dads. All my friends with laptops would not have been impressed. They’ve all been there and done that, years ago. My other friends would have not been impressed either—for opposite reasons.
My dad attended some of my high school basketball games. He didn’t know much about basketball and cared less. But he was proud of me. Mostly, he was proud that the bigger guys didn’t knock me off my feet. I wasn’t that good, but I held my ground—on my feet. Dads like that.
Until he died, my biggest dread was that he would die. I used to dream about it. They were nightmares. Now that he’s gone, I still dream about him. In my dreams, he still lives. And I’m still trying to make him proud.