I was off that day because I was on vacation that week. I came down the stairs, turned on the tv, and went into the kitchen to make a bowl of cereal. I walked back into the living room and sat down to eat and watch my morning usual. SportsCenter.
Not sure what the topic was, I just remember the ticker at the bottom of the screen saying something about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center buildings. The message said to tune to ABC for more news. So I did.
“Man, that looks bad”, I thought. What the heck happened? The Good Morning America crew were only speculating because it had only been a few minutes since it happened, and news was sketchy at best.
Then I sat and watched as a commercial airplane flew directly into the second tower. I was breathless. Unable to comprehend what I was witnessing. The first thought I had was to call the most important person in my life. My Dad.
Although the rest of that day, and that week are such a blur, the one thing I always remember is who I called first. So, on this 10th anniversary of 9/11, I would like to share a facebook note that I wrote to my Dad on Father’s Day. All I ask, is that when you finish it, you take the time to remember who YOU called first, and what that person means to you.
You have always been the most important person in my life. You have molded me into the man I am today. You never judged me when I made unpopular choices in my life. You always gave me advice to help me out even if you knew I was likely going to ignore it. You truly define what it means to be a Father.
When I was young, and constantly flying back and forth across the country, between you and my Mom, you always had a way of making me feel like it hadn’t been 5 months since I had seen you last. We seemed to just pick up right where we left off. As an adult, I try to apply that same principal whenever I spend significant time away from those who mean the most to me.
I remember all the times we watched the Sox on Friday night on tv38, when we lived on Dewey Avenue. Back when they weren’t on every night. Jim Rice would come up to bat and you would say, “I bet he hits a homerun right now,” and low and behold he would. You probably said it everytime he came up, but I only remember the times it worked, so I thought you were the greatest baseball fan EVER.
When I was a teen, and I went from being a crappy baseball player to a great player, seemingly overnight, I could always see the joy in your eyes when we would talk after the game. From the time I quit my team in Hanson because the coach was a jackass, to the time when I hit that monster shot at lower park off Scott Richardson. You were always right there, cheering me on. Like a Father should.
When I got into my 20’s and got out on my own, our relationship never waivered. The quick calls to talk about the Sox, or to remind me not to forget to send my Mom a birthday card. You always knew how to be a Father, all the time, without fail.
When Aidan was born, you immediately embraced his Mom as family, even though we were not together. You regularly checked in with her, on your own, to make sure everything was ok. This is also something you have done with my Mom my whole life. Once in the family, ALWAYS in the family. Words to live by
When I finally got married in ’05, I was so proud to be in a position where I could implement all the lessons I had learned about being a good family man. For all that were there that day, none meant more to me than you. 35 years of guidance had brought me to that moment and for me it was the REAL first step to living my life the way you had always lived yours. Being there for the people that meant the most to me, but also for any person who needed a hand in bad times. To me, that is the true measure of a man.
So, now that I am 40, and I look towards the future, I take time to remember the past and how profoundly you impacted my life. I know we have a lot of differing opinions on everything from religion to politics, but one thing I will NEVER argue with you about, is how to be a great Father. The ultimate compliment to your work as a Father will be if my children are saying these same things about me when they are 40. Here’s hoping they do.
I love you, Dad.
You’re the best.