sez. However this week I have this overwhelming desire to get something off my chest. This past Father's Day got me thinking about being a Father and how .. wait for it... proud I am of my children. Those readers that do not desire to participate may want to leave now to spare themselves the bald face familial promotion that is to follow. Since my children do not know I am writing this all names have been changed to protect those that desire to remain anonymous.
My children tease me and call me a "sour marshmallow" mostly because I generally act grumpy and tough, the old NCO coming out in me I guess. However they also know they generally get what they want from me, that is the Father coming out in me. It is my twisted parenting philosophy that my children should work for what they get but it is my job to get them what I can. I developed this philosophy by watching the actions of my own Parents. When I was in High School I was a wrestler, not the WWE kind but the High School "Folkstyle/Collegiate" kind. Being from Iowa, the wrestling capital of the free world, there were also a lot of wrestlers that were much better than I was. I lived, breathed, and slept wrestling. I had pictures of Dan Gable, and the Banach brothers on my bedroom walls and I thought I too would be in the Olympics someday. This never happened but that didn't matter to my Dad. My parents managed to send me to wrestling camp every summer during High School. It wasn't easy but they made it happen, one year I had to wash the mats between sessions to help pay for the tuition but I was there. My junior year my Dad drove me over 300 miles one way so I could attend the camp of my choice, then he drove home and came back and got me 5 days later. My Dad knew I wasn't elite material but he also knew wrestling is what I wanted more than anything at that time. I never made it to the Olympics but the training of my will during those hard practices and the example of my Father made me the man and the father I am today. So even though my girls were never going to be All State saxophone players, when they asked to go to marching band camp two years in a row, they went. They detassled corn to help pay for it but they went, that is what Father's do just ask my Dad.
Ninja 11 is my oldest son, being the oldest he got to experience all the mistakes I made as a new parent. The temper tantrums, fits and pouting and that was just me. We did not always see eye to eye, him and I, especially when he skipped school his entire senior year and I never found out about it until it was too late. He was going to a DODDS school in Germany and their communication to parents was poor to say the least. So not being a stupid individual he cut his losses and earned his GED two months before he would have graduated anyway. He bummed around a few years and then decided to join the Army. My heart swelled the first time I saw a picture of him in uniform. N11 spent 3 years in the Army, a year of which he was deployed to Afghanistan. To look at my son most wouldn't think he was a combat vet, he almost always wears black and his hair is a bit too long for my tastes. He likes Japanese Anime and playing Massive Multiplayer Online games. He is a 3rd shift supervisor at the security company where he is employed, a position he worked his ass off for. He has nightmares sometimes and doesn't talk about his service that much. The Veteran's Administration is treating him for possible PTSD. Take a long look VFW,American Legion, and DAV these are the veterans that are coming home,you better do something for them. I am proud of Ninja 11.
Boochie is my oldest girl. She was diagnosed with a learning disability when she was three years old. She has a hard time processing things like the written word or math problems. This makes everything else that much harder. What makes it even worse her disability is not obvious, people that don't know her sometimes assume she is stupid or lazy when in her words "I don't get something." Since my wife is 100% Native American my children are also darker complected and tan easily. Some idiots think she can't speak English when she takes a while to read something. Despite all this she graduated from High School last year and is now attending Community College. Boochie is a social butterfly and the most honest person I know. I cannot recall any time since she was old enough to know better that she has ever lied to me. She is dating a nice young man who treats her well. She teaches religious education classes at our church and helps serve at all the fish fries during Lent. She has a million friends and everyone always tells me how sweet she is. I hope she gets what she wants out of life. I am proud of Boochie.
The Mook is Boochie's younger sister, they are thirteen months apart and people often mistake them for twins. A lot of their friends call them"the twins" or "thing one" and "thing two." They are inseparable. The Mook graduated from High School this past spring. Mookie is the hardest working teenager I know.She will tackle any job with gusto and often makes up jobs for herself to do. She thinks it is fun to plant bushes,mow the lawn, or paint the bathroom. She is also dating a nice young man but she definitely wears the pants in the relationship. Mookie has been volunteering at a local non-profit since she was 15, in July she will receive a Iowa Governor's Award for Volunteerism from the big lug himself Gov. Culver. She makes me laugh everyday. I am proud of The Mook.
Mr. Anderson is the youngest. He will be a High School sophomore next year. He was born with one kidney and a genetic disorder that makes certain physical actions painful for him. He never complains and he is my best buddy. We watch baseball,wrestling,football, and NASCAR together. I take him shooting and we both like Doctor Who. I guess his only flaw is he is a Minnesota Gophers fan. But at least he is consistent, he also likes the Vikings and the Twins. We went to a Twins game during the last season at the Metrodome and will also attend one this year at the Twins new stadium. What's a Cubs fan to do? Mr. Anderson has a lot of unrealized potential. I am proud of Mr. Anderson.
I hope someday my kids are as proud of me as I am of them.