This is the first year that I’ve spent both Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day without either parent.
My mom died in 2012, my father in 2013. He spent a little over a year being incomplete without my mother. They were bookends, or better yet, two sides of a coin, so I don’t grieve knowing they’re together as they were meant to be.
However, it is strange knowing that I am the eldest Nowak father of my family, and my older son is the only other Nowak father of our clan – at least here in the U.S. My great grandfather arrived here in 1881 and had 6 sons and one daughter, of which my grandfather was the only one to carry on the name. My father was the only in his generation, as am I.
It’s even stranger if you realize that “Nowak” translates to “Newman” or “newcomer.” The new guy who showed up.
So, for Fathers’ Day this year I am less inclined to see it as merely a day of celebration, but also as a day to recommit to what it means to be a father. To try to be more understanding. To listen more and lecture less. To finally (maybe) learn patience.
Stefan brought us to America; Clement too the next step; Frank made “one giant leap,” and now it’s up to me.