Gift ideas for Father’s Day? Just share a memory with love

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(My “Father’s Day Gift” that will be given forever and ever, Amen.)

Editor’s note:

There are few things in life that are more valuable than a “Father’s Day present” to an unsuspecting father. After all, we start educating the “little guys” with a 9-month delay. Mom got out of the gates fast, and we’ve made up ground since then.

So we don’t really expect much in return. Just an occasional confirmation. A random call. A gesture here and there. And we’re walking around town like we’ve just won a Pick 5 carryover worth a few dollars.

But when the annual “Father’s Day” rolls by and you climb out of bed like anyone else and there is a package to open, it dawns on you that the “memory” is worth more than anything that someone can buy.

Unless…

Unless “remembering” the “memory” is the gift.

I woke up on Sunday and there were a couple of packages and a wonderful card. I opened a brand new set of Bose earbuds. Something I value and I don’t mind the occasional drop of a clue or two around the house. Amazing how tips can work from time to time. Even for those who don’t deserve such a waste.

But the other pocket contained a box. Quite a big box. One that took my best technical ability to open it up. (Hmmmmm … that is, I gave the box to the lovely Leigh Ann and she opened it for me. So much for my technical skills.)

In the box was a photo of my three grandchildren. Ford and I on the baseball field. His arm around me and mine around him. Jack and I are preparing for his t-ball game. His racket balanced and ready for action. And, Mac. Little Mac. On the way to daycare with his baseball cap backwards. What a sweetness wrapped in a whole load of personality.

Immediately, the photo and the stand it rests on became my favorite of all favorites. Didn’t know exactly where I would put it. In the lake house? In my office.

Then it dawned on me.

It didn’t matter where it went. It was in my heart. Stay. Forever and ever. Amen.

I hugged Leigh Ann for all of her love and generosity. Meanwhile, I turned to hide the tear that was running out of my eye pocket.

I cannot say that I deserve something on “Father’s Day”. God only knows you fail more than a major league baseball bat these days. And according to the Metrik guys and Harvard alumni running the game today, is a 200 hitter supposed to be good?

Well that’s another story for another day.

My philosophy about “Papa” was pretty simple.

Try to help.

I try my best.

Try not to screw it up.

Try to avoid eye contact with Alex throughout her teenage years.

And above all, always love.

I love my son Brad, who inspires me every day with his successes and leadership qualities. Today he is President of AT&T in Ohio. One of the youngest in the history of the great company. He finds time to play with his boys every day. He also finds time to enjoy his lovely wife, Kate. He finds time to be successful and be a father. Equal parts. I am honored by him.

I love my daughter Alex, who teaches me every day what it means to be caring and to give. She has never turned her back on a friend or deaf to a stranger. Today she works for the Country Music Awards in Nashville. She’s allowed to rub her elbows with some of the big guys. And in my opinion she is one too. She works hard at her job. She runs her own fashion blog. She started a photography business that is taking wings. And she is always there for her husband Evan and her “little man” Mac. Always. Always. Always. I am honored by her.

I love my son William, who is so talented and gifted that he makes me smile even when he doesn’t know. He can find a friend faster than I can grill a hamburger. He can make a person smile faster than I can pour a cold drink on a summer day. (And consume it too.) He can play basketball so much better than anyone thinks or gives him a chance to prove. And he can crack numbers in his head like a computer embedded in my phone. He is naturally calm. He is much more independent than his mother or I would like it to be. And believe it or not, he’s one of the most gifted young people I’ve ever met. I am honored by him too.

And now I have three grandchildren. All amazing. Everything really great. All. Special.

God blesses us all in so many amazing ways. Sometimes it takes a day like Father’s Day before you pause and recognize them all. Sometimes it takes a hit on the head to realize how lucky we are to have such special people in our lives. Sometimes you just find that no matter what, you are better than you deserve.

I don’t deserve my children. You are too good.

I don’t deserve my grandchildren. You are too beautiful.

And I really don’t deserve to be loved the way I am by my beautiful wife. She’s too amazing.

But I have them all. In my life. And whether they all know or not, I love them with every ounce of energy pumping through this tired old body and there is nothing I would do for them or die trying.

My father was like that. He didn’t express emotions very easily or very often. The best hug he ever gave me was a kick in the buttocks. Men were then taught to be a little different. A little harder than leather on an old horse halter.

But I always knew he was there when I needed him.

Always.

There are few things in life that are more valuable than a “Father’s Day present” to an unsuspecting father. After all, we start educating the “little guys” with a 9-month delay. Mom got out of the gates fast, and we’ve made up ground since then.

So we don’t really expect much in return. Just an occasional confirmation. A random call. A gesture here and there. And we’re walking around town like we’ve just won a Pick 5 carryover worth a few dollars.

Today I have a huge Pick 5 carryover in my heart.



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