I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad

While I was growing up, Dad only showed up once at any of my school or extracurricular activities. I was in the 8th grade, playing first on a baseball team. There was Dad in the stands! Boy, was I excited! After the game, his one comment to me was, “You should be pitching, not playing first base. Thats where the leadership is!


In reflecting back, I am reminded of the lyrics to “Cats in the Cradle“:


“A child arrived just the other day. He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it and as he grew he said, ‘I’m gonna be like you, Dad, you know I’m gonna be like you.’


“My child turned ten just the other day. He said, ‘Thanks for the ball, Dad, c’mon let’s play. Can you teach me to throw?’ I said, ‘Not today, I got a lot to do.’ He said, ‘That’s OK.’ And he, he walked away, but his smile never dimmed. He said, ‘I’m gonna be like him, yeah you know I’m gonna be like him.’


“He came from college just the other day, so much like a man I just had to say, ‘Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for awhile?’ He shook his head and said with a smile, ‘What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys, see ya later, can I have them please?’


“I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away. I called him just the other day. I said, ‘I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.’ He said, ‘I’d love to, Dad if I could find the time. You see, the new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu, but it’s sure nice talkin’ to you, Dad. It’s been sure nice talkin’ to you.’ And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me… ‘When you comin’ home, son?’ ‘I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad. You know we’ll have a good time then, then.'”


Last week, after our son called that his wife, Jeanna was having contractions, I drove 9 hours to be there as soon as possible for the birth of their first child. Ruth, away on a trip, flew 3,500 miles to get there. What a joyful time it was, celebrating that remarkable experience with them! After returning home, I received this note from Jeanna,


“Your presence here has been so marvelous for me. Your tenderness, support and prayers mean so much to me. Our little Hayden is so blessed to have you for a grandpa. And I am richly blessed to be your daughter-in-law. Thank you for showing how much you love me. I love you, Jeanna.”


And this message from our son, Wes:


“Dad, it has been very special to have you be part of our Hayden’s birth experience. It was great that you were here 5 hours after his birth! I love you and admire you so very much… Wes”


QUESTION: Dad, judging by your current investment into the lives of your clan, are you pleased with the reality that some day they are in fact “gonna be just like you“?



2 thoughts on “I’m Gonna Be Like You, Dad

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