*** A note to my fellow indie-authors/publishers follows this post ***
As a parent your main mission is to raise your children so that they become caring and contributing people in society and the bonus you hope for is that their lives are fulfilling and their successes exceed yours. How blessed I was to have great parents. How awful it is that I have gone through a good portion of my adult life without them. Oh the conversations we could have had…and the fun too—can’t forget the fun. Imagine having conversations with your parents later in your life when you’ve accumulated the same kinds of experiences they had. While I was constantly in awe of my parents and how smart they were, my father often told the story about Mark Twain’s relationship with his dad:
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
Throughout my life as a parent, I found myself sensing how much I sounded like my mother and father. There were so many times I had to stop in the middle of what I was doing and wonder if my father was actually standing there beside me, laughing to himself and mumbling something like, “See, son, some things don’t always work out the way you want them to…so deal with it.” That must be another lesson I was learning from my mom in the picture to the right. I know we were at the zoo, but I cannot remember what I had done wrong. Regardless, as unhappy as I appear, I’d easily relive the moment given the opportunity.
It is especially sad when you lose a parent suddenly, with no warning. I realize it is no less a loss for those who have had a parent simply age and eventually die than it is to have one pass unexpectedly. A loss is a loss. The former has an advantage since you, hopefully, have opportunities to share your thoughts before your time together ends. The alternative doesn’t come with that advantage. I had it both ways. My dad died unexpectedly and way too early. I didn’t have a chance to have any conversation with him. My mother, on the other hand, lived far beyond any of the women in her family, although I was impatient with her as she aged and slowed down. Yes, guilt!
Fortunately, I do not dwell on the hardships and regrets. There are enough fond memories to far surpass them. The picture below is just one example. My dad spent his day leaning over a large draftboard, meticulously drawing the blueprints his company would need to manufacture the tachometers they made for ship engines and large printing presses. He always wore a suit and tie to work–back then, most men who worked in a business environment did. Given the kind of work he performed, a long tie would have been a nuisance and always in the way. As a result, my father wore nothing but bowties—the ones you tie by hand, not the ones you clip around your neck. Rosemarie wanted to learn how to tie one so he gave her a lesson and, lucky me, I got this priceless picture.
I cannot help but think about how my mother and father must have felt when they were the age I am now. That would be a little difficult for my father since I have lived eight years more than he did. Meanwhile, my lifespan will tie my mother’s in another two. My goal is to top my grandfather who made it to 84. I have a decade to go to break that record.
As an older person, I don’t think many envision the elderly as being sentimental about our parents. In fact, sometimes I think younger folks can’t even believe we still think about our parents. I do…constantly. My wife does the same with her parents. We both often fantasize how wonderful it would be if we could have just one more evening together with them and share memories and talk about all those things we never talked about. Like many, the first thing I’d want to tell them is how much I loved them and how grateful I am for everything they did for me. Perhaps they knew; maybe I showed it in some way. It’s selfish on my part, I guess, but I just want the good feeling it would give me to let them know the tremendous impact they had on my life…and, oh yeah, they should also know that I thought the 26” Schwinn bike they got for me was the coolest.
A note to my fellow indie-Authors/Publishers: There was unusually good response to a posting I did some weeks back dealing with self-publishing. While I am strictly self-taught and there are plenty of folks more knowledgeable than I am, I decided to at least share how I go about publishing on my zero-based budget. There are three initial pages on my website and I am about to start a series specific to certain topics. If you want to see if anything I offer helps you, great! My website is easy to get to: http://marckuhn.com. It is not a secure site because I cannot afford the fee GoDaddy charges to make it so. However, there is nothing harmful on the site except a few pictures of me. Click on the green “click here” at the top of the home page to get to the pages on self-publishing. I have posted my first lesson on setting up your manuscript for those who are new to the process. Click open that same green arrow then look to the lower right for the lesson #1 link.