Archive for June, 2012

When did I become my dad?
June 13, 2012

Man, this is scary. I was in California, and I heard it. I heard it before, but this time I really Heard it.

We’re at the Santa Monica Pier and some guy was selling Coca-Cola from Mexico. It was like $3.50 a bottle, so the boys bought two. They asked me to taste it, and I got to tell you. Phenomenal.

The guy selling it says, “That’s because it has real sugar.”  I told them all, “When I was a kid, THIS is how Coke tasted. None of that high fructose corn syrup.  Used to be in a twelve ounce bottle. And the bottles were glass. You could return them to the store for a nickel. Cost was 15 cents a bottle.” That’s when I heard it. I’ve become my dad.

Oh, I’d heard it briefly before. When I told them I had to walk to Sharon High School, over two miles both ways. Didn’t have lockers my freshman year because of remodeling and I had to carry all my books back and forth, didn’t have “back packs” but had “gym bags” that were large enough to carry shorts, a shirt, and a pair of tennis shoes.

You know how it is when we talk to our kids. “We didn’t have buses in Sharon, we had to walk. Rain or shine. My dad didn’t start to drive until he was 50, which puts me at about 10 years old and we didn’t have a car.”

All of a sudden, I was my dad. And you are your mom. Or you are your dad. Freaks me out.

I swore I’d never be like him. But, I couldn’t deny the bald head, the raucous drinking as a young man, bad back, can’t hear well, but with a pretty good personality. Those were my father’s traits, and such are mine.

I don’t know when it happened. I remember one time a couple years ago shaving and looking in the mirror and went, “Bruno?” I caught a glimpse of my dad. There’s 40 years between me and my dad, and I was his “generation gap”, as he used to introduce me. He was a stubborn old thing, and actually, a bit selfish. Sadly, I see those traits in me.

But I’m different than my dad. Age does that to you. I’ve come to appreciate him more as the kids got older. The job wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. But I took the good of my dad and applied it, and took the bad of my dad and replaced it with good. I hope so.

And so I’m a combination of Joe and Bruno, me and my dad. Good and bad, I am what I am, with hopefully growing in God’s grace to become even a better husband and father.

Looking at it, I think I’m a better father than my dad was. My kids have turned out better than his.