Father’s Day, the 2011 version

So, in my now twice in my life Happy Father’s Day blog, I’m going to skip my normal disdain for the day (well, more specifically all Hallmark holiday’s – and I just learned this one was created by NIXON!) and smile.

My dad (and mom) are in a mini-van (ring of hell #1) with 3 tweeners (ring of hell #2) going to the CWS (return to ring #1) after going to Carhenge and other “tourist sites in Nebraska” (enter rings #2, #3 and #4).  For fun.  The kids are good kids, I don’t understand my father’s love of long distance driving (30 minutes, I’m done) and who buys a mini-van by CHOICE?  But they are having fun being with the 3 oldest grandkids, the grandkids appear unharmed from the pictures and are being tortured at Denny’s (yes, I went there)-as-a-resturant that must come with the grandparent license and I can’t wait to hear all versions.

The past year has been hard – from all angles.  Unemployment, illnesses, strange weather and a list of things have taxed and pushed.  At one point last summer, my dad swore to me I’d look back on 2010 and laugh (I’m not sure I ever will but I see his point).  A college friend posted this article from The Atlantic MonthlyI thought about it and realized the greatest lesson my parents taught my siblings and me is that we will fail.

How did we learn this lesson? My dad is 6 5.  When we were little (read 4 and 5), we’d engage in a 2-1 basketball game against our dad.  He’d block our shots (ok, we were midgets, block is a loose term, all he had to do was put a hand over our heads, I maintain he was trying to pad his statistics).  He’d shoot HOOK SHOTS (we stood no chance).  We’d play until we made a basket purely by luck.  We thought we “won” (we scored on dad) but we really learned.  We learned that sometimes you have to try a lot before you make a basket, we learned that sometimes a game ended before we could score, we learned (in retrospect) that sometimes failing is the best thing.  Painful life lesson best learned on the backyard basketball court.

I’m a t-ball purist.  I’m not sure letting all kid receive an award is the best idea: I was the worst player on my team until my sister joined.  She picked flowers in the field.  We were bad, we had fun and the other kids had to put up with us (I’m sure it was painful for the 2nd graders. . . ).  I do know that learning how to fail and failure being ok if the effort was there is a valuable skill (and probably is somehow related to continued creativity and imagination).

Happy Father’s Day Dad.  You taught us it’s ok to love to do something we are bad at for fun, that sometimes you loose and you were always up for coloring our food.  Now, if we could do something about your Phanatical Jayhawk addition, all would be right with the world.

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