Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Guest Blogger - My Dear, Old Dad . . .

We've heard from the in-laws so - let's hear from the "real" parents too. First up, my dear Father. My dad was always, to be honest, my best friend when I was a kid. My dad has struggled with his weight and his self esteem throughout his life and I think he saw himself in me and he always wanted me to just be "better" than he was (I guess all parents want that for their kids).

Three memories stick out for me when I think of my father.

One - When I was in junior high school he and I had an argument about something stupid (as teenagers and their parents often do) and he said some stuff that hurt me. We talked about it later and he explained why he had said what he said and he explained that he had a terrible high school experience because of his weight and his personality (both of which I got in the womb) and he wanted me to not make some of the mistakes he made. He wanted me to have a better experience than he had. He wanted me to have a better life than he had. He wanted me to be better than he was.

Two - He once drove all the way to Quinnipiac on a Friday night to see this TERRIBLE play I was in - even though I BEGGED him not to come and then he took me out to dinner (we usually took me and ALL my friends but, since it was a surprise visit, my friends were all too drunk to go to dinner that night) and then he took me to the grocery story, dropped me at my dorm and got back in the car and drove the six hours back to Groton. His father wasn't much of a dad to him. Didn't love or support him. He wanted to be a better father than the one he had and he wanted me to know that he would do anything for his children. He wanted me, of course, to carry that lesson in to my own life and to - eventually - be as good or better of a father than he was.

Three - My father had a mini-stroke in October, 2001 and the next few weeks changed all of our lives forever in many, many ways. I learned more about my father in that time than I ever thought I would. I saw more fear, courage, confusion and confidence than I've ever seen from my father during that period. He shared all those emotions and his struggles with me. He wanted me to know the importance of being who you are but how hard it can be to be that person somtimes. He wanted me to know how important my mother and his sons are to him and how wonderful he wanted our lives to be and how much he would do to give us that chance. He wanted me to be have a better and more open life than him. He wanted me to be better than him.

Those three memories, to be blunt, influence me every single day as I view myself as a professional, a friend, a husband and a father. I hold those memories and those times very near and dear to my heart and I'll tell you right now . . . Ava will be better than me because my father insisted that I have every opportunity to be better than him. I love you and I thank you, Dad, for everything.

It has been a year since Sean's gastric by pass and what a change!

Not only is 210+ pounds gone but Sean is a new man. His outlook on life is better and nicer. A lovely wife and "funtastic" daughter has greatly added to his wanting to change his living and more importantly eating habits. It amazes me when we have been together how he sticks to the routine of what is allowed and not. His intake is only what it should be and that is it. A personal trainer has facilitated his dieting and exercising regimen for continual weight loss.

I have seen much more ease with which he handles situations that could possibly be explosive for the pre surgery Sean. There still is stress in his life and job as most of us have but it is handled easier now than back in Washington/Baltimore days.

It is a joy to spend time on the phone with Sean speaking about what is going on in his life and hearing him talk about it in calmer terms. There still are times when he is upset with things but not to the degree that he once was.

We miss tremendously spending time with him and his family in person but do spend time each week on the phone which helps some with the distance. He shows great concern for us by calling often and verbally reinforcing his love for us.

His work is a challenge which is good with feeling success. He seems to be meeting the challenges of the job as well as his coworkers which is a positive thing, further attesting to his happiness with his new life post surgery.

I have always loved my son, (whom we affectionately called "Tons of Fun" when he was a toddler), but it is much more rewarding to see and experience this new man and son since his surgery. We know and can see the outward manifestation of a person who made a decision, acted and has followed through for a year now attaining great success.

I am certain that he has added years to his life with Joy and Ava Grace because of his decision March 20, 2007 and the conscientious work subsequently.

I am very proud of you Sean and happy that you are so successful in your life. Keep up the wonderful work. Much love today and Always, Dad

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