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Happy Father's Day: To the real father-figure in my life

When I think about Father's Day and who I consider to be the real father-figure in my life, I don't think of my actual dad.  If you read yesterday's post, I'm sure you can understand why.

The person I call 'dad' and smile about is my ex-wife's dad.  And here's why.

I met my ex when I was 18, dated when I was 19, and married when I was 20.  Yes, I was legally considered an adult, but I really wasn't 'grown up.'  My dad really wasn't the lesson-teaching type, so everything I had learned from this point was pretty much self-taught.  That is, until Boyd stepped in.

Boyd accepted me with open arms, and treated me like a son from the get-go.  He gave advice, answered questions, and kicked my butt when it needed to be kicked.  He was everything my dad wasn't, and I loved him for that.

He was also a Freemason.  When I turned 21, I joined the local lodge, not only because of the messages Boyd gave me (Masons take great men and make them better) but also as another way to bond with him.  It was something we could have in common, talk about, and share with each other.

Masonry wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and I grew tired of the political posturing that a lot of members focused on.  I learned a lot while I was a member, but I just didn't see it as a good fit.  Maybe I'm just not the secret society type?

Over the years Boyd took me under his wing, and helped teach me skills that every man should know.  We worked on home projects together, fixing cars, doing taxes, and many other 'adult' things.  He answered all of my questions candidly, and treated me like a peer instead of a nuisance.

I never had these types of bonding with my dad.  His version of bonding was watching sports together, and him screaming at the TV in hopes the referee or Quarterback will be able to hear him, and "get their act together..." 

When I look back at my youth, I don't see a lot of 'warm and fuzzy' memories of my dad and I hanging out.  But in the short amount of time I spent with Boyd, he became the real dad in my life.

With good comes bad.  He wasn't a perfect man by any means.  He introduced me to PC games like Starcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, and World of Warcraft.  We bonded over gaming addictions as well as cars and business-talk. 

I look back at the causes that made my marriage dissolve, and video games are on that list.  I was addicted, and it cause a major rift in my relationship.  I was a bad husband and a bad father, because I 'had to make raid times.'  I have noone to blame but myself, but part of me wishes that Boyd never introduced me into that world.  He would buy me all the games, just so I could play with him... we both would spend countless hours online, ignoring our real worlds and living in fantasy.  We both, at times, put the game before our marriages...  I don't play anymore, because I never want to fall down that rabbit hole again.  Boyd never made that decision, and continued to be a hardcore player until the end.

Sadly, Boyd passed away in 2008.  He died of Heart Failure, in a fairly quick fashion.  My youngest was born, and in less than 2 months grandpa had passed on.  It was a devastating loss to the family, and my first experience with death for someone I loved deeply, and mourned intensely. 

Though dead, he will never truly be gone.  His lessons linger in my heart, and I will always remember him and all the good times.  My youngest will never remember being held in papa's arms, but I will make sure he knows about this great man, and what he did for me.

Happy Father's Day, Boyd.  You're missed, and will never be forgotten.
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13 witty retorts:

Anonymous said...

That was a great post! It takes a big person to admit their faults. It sounds like you've learned a lot from that relationship and came out stronger for it! Now you know what a great dad is like, you can be that father for your own child!

Alice X said...

Heartwarming. I'm really close with my Dad and i'm so thankful for that, but i can imagine that having a strong Father figure is more important to a boy, glad to see you found one. Sounds like he was a wonderful man.

Anonymous said...

Lovely tribute to a man who influenced you positively (and a smidge negatively). I am glad that you realized video games were taking over your life and walked away from them. I have met guys totally addicted to gaming who think it isn't an addiction or an issue and I was never really sure myself since I loathe the things...but I suppose they cause a slew of issues.

Anyway...Happy Father's Day to a man dedicated to spending time with his children. Glad you got some time with them. :)

Drake Sigar said...

Nice to find a father who doesn’t conform to the traditional overprotective of daughter stereotype!

D4 said...

That sounds like a real dad to me.

Zombie said...

Couldnt ask for a better dad. lol.

becca said...

see the guy I share DNA with is just some random guy my dad is the man my mom married and raised me for 37 years that's who i call dad.

happy father's day

Everyday Life

Melanie said...

What a great story. Thank you for sharing it! I am glad to not be the only one out here that had a father that wasn't a dad! And, you will always have your memories =)

Autumnforest said...

It's wonderful that you can give him credit for being human too. Many people after losing loved ones relegate them to sainthood, but you saw the whole man and still found him to be a worthy teacher which is what we all hope for our own selves. Sounds like he led a life with many wonderful ramifications, such as teaching you that you are worth his time and attention. That's all dad ever needs to do.

Ally said...

wow, great story. kind of a twist there too. wasn't expecting him to pass :(

i'm sorry for your loss. video gaming is said to be a real addiction. i'm glad you were able to move on from it.

Random Girl said...

A very sweet tribute to a man who stepped up and taught you things only a real dad could. Family is what you make it, that's what I always say. I'm glad you had that influence to impact you, and it sounds like for better or worse, you learned a lot from his example.

Technosauce said...

A very good and sad story, and it was unfortunate of his passing. It's well needed that the father in our lives is to be well remembered.


Tony Van Helsing said...

Sounds like he was quite a bloke, nice of you to tell us about him.

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