I can still remember every lesson he taught me
Growing up learning how to be like my old man
Zac Brown Band, My Old Man
The knock grows louder and louder of the big 4-0 approaching. Most days it is a passing thought of another birthday. One more candle to blow out on one more cake.
But the other day two things happened that put my age into perspective. Both were things I heard.
My oldest son is blend of iTunes playlist with a twist of vinyl in his soul. He was an early adopter of the single from Zac Brown Band titled “My Old Man”. In true Andrew style I was cornered into listening to this fresh track from the band from GA.
ZBB penned a poetic ode to dads and sons. While Drew’s musical ears were picking up downbeats and lacks of cymbal splashes, I was drinking in the lyrics. As each one documented a Polaroid snapshot of generational father and son relationships, my secret hope he was hearing more than just the sweet strum of classical guitar. He did not see the tears tucked away in corners of my eyes as the lyrics poked deep at my desires as a dad.
A second thing unpredictable event happened that same week. I heard my dad. Yes, he is still alive. It was not a ghostly situation. In fact he is some 990 miles away in Florida like most people who are of that age. Yet, I heard him, not in person, not on the phone, but inside of me.
It was the audio that rang in my ears of a deep belly laugh. It was my Old Man. It was his laugh. The laugh I had heard as child now bellow out out of my mouth and unexpectedly caught me off guard. The man of my childhood was now creeping out of the man that I am.
The collision of these to occurrences lead me to a prayer and a hope. My life in perspective has brought the revelation of the wisdom my dad was handing down to me. Wisdom originally ignored or taken for granted now is anchors my soul.
I look at my sons and know one day their DNA will look at them and unknowingly through a heartfelt dagger into their soul maybe packaged in musical melodies. I also realize one day they will hear my laugh come out of their mouth and look for me.
I fight the fight most dads do, trading time for money. Living a life where both feel in short supply. Time slips out to shore as the tides of life seem so quickly to change. So I spend my time hoping the messages in moments are getting caught. Praying that the man they see is a man they become like. I think the greatest compliment I can give and ever receive is summed up like this:
“Now I finally understand
I have a lot to learn
From my old man”