18 minutes ago
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Happy Father's Day, Y'all!
This year Father’s Day has a new twist for me.
I am a grandfather again, but this time I have a Grandson.
So I started thinking about Grandfathers and Grandsons.
How do I want to say this so it doesn’t come out wrong?
Women have gotten a bad shake, in some respects, in the name game. Born with one name, die with another. Trying to track what has happened to the daughters of a family is tough, if you don’t have the marriage records. But a man’s name is his to pass on.
I hope that statement didn’t exasperate any of my readers, because a generalization is usually wrong, and I made a very sweeping generalization. But for a reason.
My Dad was the youngest of 6, and the only son. My Grandpa had 14 grandsons by the time I came along; but none of them carried his last name. I was the one that did. I have no idea how that made him feel, but I know how I felt the day The Boy was born. Almost as if a weight were lifted; I had one less thing to worry about. Another generation was now carrying The Name.
As I write that it sounds goofy. But I don’t think the concept is; maybe just the way I’m saying to makes it sound that way.
Down through history the eldest son was always the king; the patriarch; the one to inherit. A definite aura accompanies the first born son; something Herod knew well. And you always read about how a family name has died out because of a lack of sons; how proud the name was and what it once stood for. Sons carry on in a way daughters do not.
Again, that sounds rather sexist. Maybe it is. But society functions as it does; I neither condemn nor condone; I accept. Things have changed a lot in the last 100 years; who knows what he next 100 will do?
But, as usual, I digress.
I was talking about Fathers and Sons. Or more specifically, Grandfathers and Grandsons.
Both of my Grandpas had strokes before I was born. Each was affected differently, but neither was able to be the special confidant and buddy a granddad is supposed to be. The adult who can think like a child, and enjoys doing so. The one who can play hooky on a Friday afternoon- because their career is no longer ‘building’, but built- for a t-ball game, or a quick stop at the Dairy Queen on the way home from school (but DO NOT tell your mother).
They do the things for the grandsons they couldn’t for their sons. Things I am looking forward to doing.
Today I will visit the cemetery, and again visit my Dad, and his, and his grandpa. Later I’ll have my sons and grandkids around and we will enjoy a little dinner and some fun. I’ll hold The Boy on my lap and make promises he won’t yet understand; promises I hope I’ll be able to keep.
And in the early evening I’ll sit on my porch, watch the sun complete its daily journey and drop silently below the western tree line while I raise a toast to my forefathers, and my sons, and grandson, and spend a few minutes in reflection on how we turn from sons to fathers and to grandfathers.
And how our lives are sweeter for the journey.
Happy Father's Day to those who are celebrating!