Today, June 18th is Father's Day! Happy Father's Day to all the Dads! As I was thinking this morning taking Elmer and Pebbles out in the rain, what would be the best present for Father's Day. And I think I came up with it... It's TIME.

Time goes by so quickly. It seems the older I become, the faster time goes too! Pretty soon, I won't need a fan, I'll just be able to use the wind generated by the hands of the clock, as it circles the hours, to keep cool. But seriously, think about time.

Photo Chris Popper
Photo Chris Popper

I wish that I had more time with my Dad. With him living in Florida and me living in Maine, we didn't see each other that much in person. But we talked every day, and thanks to technology like Alexa Show, we video chatted most every day, especially during COVID. We would always call around suppertime, and more times than not, we would be eating dessert about the same time and could catch up on each other's days, and it felt like we were there.

Make MEMORIES, so as the time passes, you have the memories to hold onto. I'm sitting here this morning and am flooded by all sorts of memories of doing things with my Dad over the years. Big and small, they all get sorted away, stored in file cabinets of your brain, and the drawers pop open every now and then. They're good so you can think "What would my Dad do in this situation?" or "What would my Dad say?"

And  it makes me realize that I need to do a better job of managing my time with my 2 sons. Craig, out 33 year old talks to Bonnie, my wife every day. I get the news from her. He's so busy in Chicago, and I don't want to bother him while he's working. But I need to text him every day. Tell him how proud I am of him, listen to him. Create those memories so one day, he'll have those to look back on.

I think I've done better with Collin over the last year. With Collin working overnights, I typically text him in the middle of the night to say "hi", "hang in there", "you're almost done" etc. when I wake up in the night. Between taking the dogs out to go to the bathroom, and myself to the bathroom, I'm up at least once or more often 2 or 3 times a night.

Photo Chris Popper

And whenever I think of my Dad, I think of my Mom. They were a pair. And how proud my Dad would be of my Mom, as she has carried on without him. It's often said, that when a husband passes away before his wife, the wife can carry on, as difficult as it may be. But when a wife passes away before her husband, the husband will usually pass away within a year. I don't see how my Dad would have survived without my Mom.

I think last year my brothers and sister were mad at me, because I had posted a picture of my Dad in his waning days. It wasn't the most flattering photo, and I'm sure wasn't how they picture my Dad in their minds, or wanted to remember him by that photo. But it was 1 of the last times I saw him in person, when I went down to Florida. He was very frail. He needed my help to transition from place to place and he was cold.

I remember lifting my father and would count to 3, 1-2-3 and more times than not, I'd move him before 3. He'd look at me and said what about 3. And I would tell him he just needed to trust me, and that I needed to keep him on his toes, like he did me in his life. And I remember going to Walmart and getting him some woolen socks, that he could put on his hands and arms, to keep warm. It was our Maine mittens. In his final days, in his half-lucid state, he'd look at me and thank me for bringing him Maine mittens to keep him warm.

That's when I want more time and to create more memories.

So today, if you're lucky enough to have your Dad alive, create a memory...Spend some time together, whether in person or on the phone. If you're a Dad, spend some time with your children. Create a memory. It doesn't have to be a big one, but it should be a good one.

Don't be caught being the Dad in Harry Chapin's song "Cats in the Cradle"

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