Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The day I found out I am stronger than my dad.......

Yea, so not really car related this time. But something profound happened to me a few weeks ago and I can't get this topic out of my head, so here goes.

My dad came to visit me the other day. He lives in Omaha, NE and I live in Bham, AL so we only see each other a few times a year. While visiting he always likes to help with jobs around the house and cars and such (he was a contractor for years and is very good at that stuff). While working in my sisters basement installing some pocket doors we both were tripping over my brother in laws weights. He had a curl bar loaded with about 95lbs on it. I decided to pick it up and do some reps, 4 of them to be exact. I didn't really struggle, but had I kept going I would have. I said to dad "throw up a few pops". He reluctantly grabbed the bar and began his attempt. Oh, he got it up, but just barely and there weren't any follow ups. It was at that moment, 33 years into my life, that I realized I was stronger than my father. My dad, somehow seemed smaller, weaker, and my world changed.

You see, all my life my father has been the embodiment of strength, coolness under pressure, stability, athleticism, and all things "MANLY" in my life. He is 6'1" and used to be about 200lbs, so not a small guy. Always towering over me throughout my life. I remember as a boy when he would build things how I would watch his hands. His hands seemed HUGE and like vice clamps. He was impervious to pain, somehow able to push through it without so much as a yelp. Kinda like the song by Joe Nichols entitled "Impossible".

It starts with:
"My dad chased monsters from the dark, checked underneath my bed
he could lift me with one arm, way up over top his head,
he could loosen rusty bolts with a quick turn of his wrench
he pulled splinters from his hands, and never even flinched"

Those lyrics probably hit home with most of you reading this. And for me it is no different. And so to realize that my father has aged to the point that I am now stronger than him was a scolding reminder that time is not a respecter of persons. I guess it is just something all men must go through. I am a lot different than I once was, I'm fatter, balder, and have some grey hairs coming in on the sides of my head. And so this thought has haunted me for a week or two now.

And today my 91 year old grandfather is coming to visit. Again, a man from my childhood who was a larger than life figure. He had a lake house and we learned to ski, fish, and knee board there. He always took us to lobster dinners and made the best breakfast in the world. He was a fighter pilot in WW2 and served in the European Theater. He did it all, had seen it all, and could make anyone laugh. Last year when I saw him I didn't expect him to make it to 91. But he is still alive and well. But he too is smaller, shorter, somehow not the man he once was.

So what is the point of my ramblings? I dunno really. Perhaps just to "talk" out my problems in print. To try and somehow organize my thoughts on this topic and work through them. Or maybe it is just because everyone I know is getting older and I still feel so young. I don't really fear death, but I fear not leaving the proper legacy for my children. I need more time, so do my dad and grandfather.

And so to end I just simply say to you, take every moment and live to the fullest. Tomorrow is not a guarantee and one day you will look back and wish you had done more. Perhaps this post can serve as a wake up call. Spend more time with your kids outside, spend more time with the TV's off and the board games on the table. Love more, laugh more, and don't get upset if somebody spills something. In the grand scheme of things, nothing much matters on this Earth. Family does, people do, and faith does. Beyond that, it is all destined to burn up anyways.

By the way, the next line of that Joe Nichols songs says:
"In thirteen years I'd never seen him cry, but the day that grandpa died, I realized...
Unsinkable ships, sink.
Unbreakable walls, break.
Sometimes the things you think would never happen, happen just like that.
Un-bendable steel bends, if the fury of the wind is unstoppable.
I've learned enough to never underestimate, the impossible. "

My "impossible" was being stronger than dad. And while that me be so physically, he will always be a better man than I am.

So take it for what its worth. I hope you find some meaning to these ramblings that helps you. And I promise, the next entry will get back to cars.