Decades later, I would get to know the feeling with my own two kids.
Pa was a quiet and prudent man, he never said much when we were kids, choosing to let his actions do the talking. It was typical of the fathers from his generation. But we never lacked for anything, and he did his best to provide for us all, the three boys.
His silent manner hides a childhood of struggle and poverty, of surviving the ravages of war and the seedier side of society.
We saw very little of him, because of his shift work. Forty years at the same job, and never taking a single day of medical leave the whole time. Really. Never.
Ok, except once, when he was almost about to retire, and he had to undergo surgery to remove a small piece of his lung that had developed a tumour. It took that kind of medical situation to make him take MC. He was, I think, a little upset that it marred his perfect attendance record.
That op made him slow down the drink and the smoking, which is just as well.
As I was growing up, we had our share of disagreements, my Pa and I, as kids and fathers tend to. For years, I thought he did not understand me.
Then I became a husband, then a father, and then a father again. And we reconnected, in our own very quiet way. No fanfare, no hugging, no drama.
My children brought out a part of him I had never seen before and he is the most doting grandfather to his grandchildren.
He was there with me when Faith was born, awaken by my phone call at 3 am in the morning, because my mom was in Australia. When I was checking us in at the hospital counter, he carried the bags and accompanied my wife into the delivery room. The nurses at first thought he was the father. It was a funny mixup. My father looks very young for his age.
He is enjoying his retirement years now. He has four grandchildren to play with, two from my brother and two from me. And another one from me, on the way. Our children are very blessed to have him as grandfather.
Happy Father's Day, Pa.