Cats in the Cradle

by Byron on May 14, 2017

Hey Guys-

Grandpa had a stroke a little over a month ago.  I left you with Mommy, Mimi and PopPop at The Charmery Ice Cream shop after dinner on a Mommy’s 39th birthday and took an Uber to Sinai hospital.  Though Grandpa was alert, the hospital people were asking us what was to happen if he had to go on life support.  Who would make decisions for him?  Did he want machines to keep him alive?

He didn’t die.  He spent the next three weeks in the hospital on the neuro rehab floor.  You guys really liked to go visit him.  You rode his wheelchair and played in the pretend kitchen they had and boarded the bus at the pretend bus stop they had.  And you loved to put your fingers in the three-story waterfall inside the Sinai lobby.  Grandpa was just happy that you guys came to visit him so much.

Gibby, you will be 3 super soon and Decker, it won’t be too long before you’re 5.  Deck, you’re going to start McD pre-K in the fall.  Time is flying by.

Thinking about Grandpa’s mortality has been a little bit tough on me.  I think about the times when I was not a good son.  I think about when I gave my Dad a hard time.  He was a good man.  He is a good man.  I think about the times when he wasn’t a good dad.  Instead of counting up those times like I have done a few times in the past, I think about how hard it is to be a really good Dad.  I think about how hard it is to be a family man.  He had so many responsibilities.  He had to earn a living, he had to be there enough for us kids, be a decent husband.  He had to be better than his Dad.  In his case, he had to be a lot better than his Dad.  A lot.  I’m lucky, I only have to be a little bit better.

I heard the song Cats in the Cradle tonight.  It made me think.  It seems like Dads everywhere hear that song and have an immense amount of guilt for not spending enough time with their kids.  Moms and Dads everywhere hear it and realize how quickly the time goes and how you never get it back.  Many think of it as a sad song.

I don’t think of it as a sad song.  We all must sacrifice.  We are all just mere mortals.  Time spent doing one thing is time not spent doing another.  And we all must be much to the world.  At least, that’s whats in me.  And I know that’s what is in Grandpa.  I think of it as a happy song.  In the end, his boy was just like him.  His boy, with kids of his own, I imagine happy.  It was sure nice talking to him.

I have bills to pay but no planes to catch and I’m pretty sure I saw you both take your first steps.

And that, that right there, is what breaks your heart.  I don’t remember your first steps perfectly.  Not because I wasn’t there.  Because I’ve been there for so much.  Because I’ve seen both of your eyes look up at me from your small frames and call me “Daddy” so many times and I just want to stop time every time.  And I can’t.  Sometimes I try.  I take a mental picture.

But the picture blurs.  It always does.  The simple moments I want to hold onto with everything I have always fade.  “Hearts and thoughts they fade.  Fade away.”

But it’s okay.  The song and life.  They’re both okay.  You make each moment vivid and then let each moment fade while you make new ones vivid.  Life’s meant to give you vivid moments.  And life’s also meant to break your heart because it never goes backward.  To me, that’s what the song is about.  It’s not about not having the time.

Guys – I never let a day get away.  Ever.  I try to savior every day with you boys.  Every single one.  I never let a day get away.  But then, in the end, of course they always do.  I love you with all the love in the world.  It’s the only kind of love I think.

Dad

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: