Thursday, July 21, 2011

A email from my uncle that made things so much easier to deal with

I wrote on Facebook on Father's Day last month about the 2 men in my life who took the place of the man who chose not to be in my life as a father - my 2 uncles. This is what I wrote:
happy Father's Day to all the men who were "fathers" in my life (uncles, brothers, & moms who had to be both), all those who are fathers (friends and family), those no longer here (my father-in-law I never met who passed away on Father's Day 10 years ago but know through the family), & the man who will be the father to my children someday (Aaron)
Here is the email I received from one of them and it changed my whole day. I am very lucky to have him in my life for more reasons than I am sure they do not even know:


I was getting ready to post a message to Facebook yesterday  (now that I am more willing to use the social networking stuff….)

And I realized that I had failed to respond to your Facebook photo/post on Father’s Day – and, for that, I apologize

That you would post for all the world to see (or at least all the Facebook folks) – that you consider me to have played a fatherly role is very humbling and gratifying

I should have replied immediately and on the Facebook site –for everyone to see how honored I was that you should consider me to have fulfilled an important role in your life.

I know that growing up with an absentee father was difficult for you – and formed some parts of the you that you became – in many ways. 

One of my favorite memories is of helping you learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels – there were some anxious, frustrating moments, an argument or two, and maybe a small scrape – but you were determined – and succeeded -   as you have in so many things through the years.

I wish you hadn’t had to grow up so quickly and take on many responsibilities that you got at an early age – but (as all the “cool” kids say) it is what it is/was -  and you became all the better for it in the long run.  (at least that is a good way to look back on it all now).   
Although I was always away when you were growing up – either at college or on an Army assignment somewhere -  I tried to make the most of the short interaction times I had with you during holidays or other visits to the Chicago area   (and your brothers and sister and cousins no matter the then-current state of family dynamics) .

We share more than a birth month and the fact of being the youngest born child - 

I see many similarities -  a career devoted to serving others,  a willingness to venture out on your own at a young age, a love of learning, a bit of a temper, a smidgen of stubborn-ness,  and an strong independence.

I think I have told you before – and if not – another failure on my part

The day of your Master’s graduation – when I saw you enter the auditorium and take your seat – I was overwhelmed with pride – I literally could feel my heart rate rise and chest swell with pride.

Pride -  For all that you have overcome in your lifetime -  illnesses, familial situations, relationships, academic demands, external demands on your time, financial needs (and getting jobs to pay for what you needed and wanted)

Pride  - For all that you have become -  a wonderful person, a great wife, a outstanding teacher, a mentor and friend to many.

Uncle Bill

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