My Father, The Ideal

Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may. — Plato

Jack, in his capacity as my father, is the ideal made real and the real elevated to the ideal.

It would be easy to say that I never appreciated the fact until I was an adult; however, that would be not only trite, but also untrue. I always got it. Seeing that, that is what has always been easy.

His love, for all of us, remains downright blatant, unswerving. His heart, so genuine it sometimes breaks mine. His genius, a gift not measurable by academics, but obvious within moments. His soul, the soul of perhaps every father who ever was, every grandfather whoever was, inhabits this man.

When he began his role as grandfather, I was 20 years old. The new angle provided by my ringside seat on his fathering skills (as opposed to being directly in the path of it) did not teach me anything I did not already know about him, just that all those wonderful things I did know continued to be true, and that I was right all along.

The core of my humanity comes from this man, and of course, from my mother.

The gifts of the Mother include incisiveness, self-confidence, analytical intelligence. The sole gift of the Father is the reminder that those things can often fail you, but that all is not lost if you hold tight to your own strong sense of place, something defined by the generosity of spirit given and received in abundant exchange by those you love.

I love you, Dad.