Hey TodayTheory squad! We are currently sitting at 9 followers! I am super excited for each new like and follow. You have no idea how incredible it is to have been fairly consistent on this page for almost a month now. I began this journey with the intent of trying to post almost everyday and it feels good to follow through on my commitment. Thank you for being a part of my personal journal and rants. With that being said…let’s talk about my Father.
This past Friday my father retired from his job. At 72 years of age he has dedicated 51 of those years to our country in service. He did 24 years in the Air Force, where he retired as a Master Sergeant, and followed that up with 27 years doing civil service work for the Air Force Surgeon General’s office. I attended his retirement ceremony and we followed that up with some bowling…it was a fun time. I congratulated him with my usual “we’re cool” disposition, a hand shake and partial hug. That’s how we general communicate.
The thing I would never tell my dad is that I was almost brought to tears at his retirement ceremony. It sounds real silly and sappy, but let me explain. Before my wife and I left I had all these opinions and thoughts about what would take place at this ceremony, some positive…some critical, but nonetheless…thoughts. My assumption was that there would be a long line of people who would be called up one by one and rushed off the stage after they received their certificates. I assumed there’d be no tears, no emotions, no frills, just a thank you and good luck. My dad dedicated so much of his life to something he believed in so much and it by no means made him a rich man, so if the frills were lacking I was going to be upset for him…even though I know he wouldn’t be.
You see, my dad isn’t by any means rich. He and my mom do well for themselves, and he always had enough to make sure we were good. He was a hard-worker. He always pushed us to be the best we could be with the knowledge of the world he had. He really is a huge pillar in our family. Growing up I always ignorantly measured success by the number of commas in one’s bank account. I grew up in the MTV cribs generation, so I was obviously desensitized to reality and it took until the past few years to finally begin waking up from that, anywho…I digress.
On Friday when I arrived at the ceremony my dad’s colleagues asked for the family to stand…my family. We stood and they gave us a standing ovation and began talking about how much my dad praised us around the office. I quickly learned that he was the entire focus of this ceremony. This wasn’t some big group send off, this was a group of over 50 people who showed up specifically for my dad. Person after person came up to the front of the crowd to sing my dad’s praises…many citing how great of a guy he was, and telling stories of how my dad’s compassion, empathy, faith, and assistance had a positive impact on their life. I was impressed. I began to assess myself and consider that I could barely name 10 people who probably have decent things to say about me, and here my dad is with a room full of people who adored him. You can tell they showed up for more than just free food, but rather the send off of a companion and influence. Every speak told their story either with tears running down their cheek or with red, watery eyes…obviously trying to hold back their tears.
I sympathize with that, because if anyone looked at me they probably saw a drop or two of liquid forming in my eye…which I’d obviously dismiss as allergies. On Friday I saw what being rich truly meant. Money is nice to have. I pray one day my dad wins the lottery as he always talks about what he’d do with the winnings. Even if that never happens I hope he realizes that he has wealth beyond measure. He has made an impact on the lives of his co-workers and their families in an incredible way and that shouldn’t be overlooked.
I hope my dad finally takes some time to rest, but the day after he came over to spend time with his grandchildren and his children. I asked, “Dad…you can finally do whatever you want, what are you going to do now?” He responded with, “spend my remaining free time continuing to give of myself to my family to make up for any time I couldn’t give you all over the 51 years.”
Dad, I hope you know that’s a TERRIBLE answer…a real terribly great answer. I love you man and you don’t know about the blog but one day you might and you will see that here on January 10, 2020 you cemented your legacy in retirement…but you will also see that on January 12, 2020 your youngest son shared it on the internet and cemented your legacy for many to hear about for all of eternity. You are a rock and you continue to help me grow to become a better man all the time. I know I’m hard-headed and stubborn sometimes because I obviously know it all, but truthfully…every discussion is one that lingers long after you walk out of my door or I walk out of yours. Thanks for always doing right by me and thanks for giving 51 years of your life in service to our country and our family.