On Father's Day

On Father's Day I spend time, reflecting a bit on what it means to be a father.  

I think about my father, who was a role model for me in many ways, dedicating his short life to helping others, organizing and serving time in prison to end segregation in the south, creating organizations for teenagers who could not live at home and helping farmers keep their land in agriculture. Despite this intense work, he also had generous time for Josh and me, taking us hiking in the Green and White Mountains, fishing in the brook, hours of swimming in the river, haying our fields and his surprise trips after school to take us to the Mozart Festival at Shelburne Farms.  I wonder often where he found the time, but am so thankful he did. 

He was far from perfect. Notoriously late, drove too fast, spent more money than we had on farm equipment and had a tendency to invite throngs of friends over to the farm or bring home hitchhikers without warning my mom.  He made some interesting parenting choices, like letting me stay overnight at the Tunbridge Fair by myself when I was 11 or, around the same age, teaching me to drive our truck and telling me to meet him at the fields we were haying about 5 miles away over multiple town roads. 

What we did have from my father was unconditional love. A love you could feel in your bones. And despite losing him when I was 13, when he had not yet turned 40, I can still feel that love today. 

And on this Father's Day, that is the standard I most hope to meet.  I'm thankful for the unconditional love Sarah's dad David provides for our entire family and the many mentors I have had over the years who have filled in some of the gaps caused by my loss.  But throughout this chaotic life that I have chosen, in no small part because of the expectations set by my father, I am reminded on this day to embody that notion of unconditional love to my kids so they can pass it down to their children.  

And with that, we are off to mulch the blueberries (Jud will be operating the tractor) and then down to the river on a picture perfect Vermont summer day.