Father's Day 2004
I am writing this note late in the evening. Father's Day has come and is almost gone. This year is different because in less than 12 hours our oldest son leaves for China where he will teach English for a year. All three of our boys have been around last night and today. When I got up, the family presented me with my Father's Day gifts. Nick went out early to buy me a special gift--three Moon Pies. He said he had to stop at several gas stations until he found them. Later we went to Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling for lunch. They gave us baseball caps at the restaurant so Mark and Nick and I wore ours during the meal. Lots of good-natured banter, a little talk about China but not much. When we came back, all five of us set around and watched the U.S. Open. We did our best to cheer Phil Mickelson to victory--but we couldn't quite get him past the 17th hole.Unspoken is the reality that we won't do this again for at least a year. Lots of banter between Mark and Nick—keeping things light, goofing off, teasing Josh who teases right back. By tomorrow night he'll be in California. A week from now he'll be in Beijing. And life rolls on. He is so clearly ready and eager to go, but this whole week has been a good experience, not the pressure thing we feared. Today the family has gathered around to help each other out. All of us know what this means—and the only thing we can do is to physically stay together as long as we can. Josh has packed two huge suitcases plus a carry-on plus his laptop computer. That's what he'll take with him for the next year. We'll be mailing some teaching supplies later this summer. He and and his friend Pat McGuin are packed and pumped and ready to go. It's great to see them so excited about this new adventure on the other side of the world.
But there is undeniable pain mingled with the joy. I feel it tonight as I write these words. The hours slip away one by one. Meanwhile I am very grateful to have my family together today. I cannot remember a better Father's Day.