This image, one of my favorite pictures, evokes in me some of the deepest and most profound feelings, and yet I sit here, struggling to type a single sentence about it. I know for a fact that in my younger years I contributed significantly to both my father's gray hair and baldness. He put up with a lot from us kids. It hasn't been until recently, the birth of Booker and then Lincoln, that I have been able to truly appreciate his years of patience, quiet example, and unquestioned love. In short, fatherhood has made me realize that it was not easy being my father, it is not easy being a father myself, and that fatherhood is inherently difficult. Few things, if any, refine men's souls in the way being a father does. It bares wide man's every foible and weakness, humbling him, testing his resolve. I suppose the birth of my children has helped me see myself as I really am. Sometimes the picture isn't too pretty. Inevitably I have looked back on my own childhood experience and have seen my dad with new eyes. Yes, sometimes the picture wasn't too pretty, but I see a man who tried to give his children the best life he knew how. He made mistakes, but he kept trying. It is amazing for me to see him, both as he was and as he now is. The years of fatherhood have grayed his hair (and scared the rest away), but he is the man he struggled to be for all those years. His unbending integrity, compassion, and quiet acts of service and love have no equal. I suppose this is the hope of fatherhood, and ultimately the hope of this life, that in the end we are able to overcome ourselves and rise to our full potential. As I have become a father, I have seen him in me more than I ever could have imagined. I inherited it all, the good and the bad. But I could never fault my dad for anything, not one mistake, not one lost temper, not one missed moment. I can only hope to rise to his stature. If I am able to become the man that my dad has become (and was deep down all along), I will count myself a success.
I love you dad.