My children couldn’t be much different.
One of them is deeply introspective, an introvert and already set in his ways. The other is loud, sometimes brash and speaks his mind at the drop of a hat.
When I was a child, my brother and I were very much the same. We shared very little in common – though that has changed somewhat as we have gotten older.
My mother used to tell us she loved us the same amount, but loved us differently because we are different people.
I didn’t understand that until I had children of my own.
You can’t love people who are so vastly different in the same way, but you can love them the same amount – as I do with my children. They are amazing people and I’m thankful God chose me to be their father.
When my oldest son – now 19 – was younger, I went to most of his events. At the time I felt I was balancing as best I could a workload and being a father. Now that he’s grown and his days of athletic competition – and indeed Bible Quiz and the like – are past, I wish I had erred on the side of being a better father.
When Alex was a senior in high school I had a conversation with my boss and told him I didn’t want to miss anything he did. I got my work done, but I made sure to work my schedule around his activities.
I loved every minute of it. I went to a golf match in the rain. I went to the baseball game where he had his first hit of the season. I hugged him as tears streamed down his face after his final football game.
As fate would have it, as Alex ended his prep career, Camden’s was just beginning. Due to the small size of his school, he began playing sports as a sixth grader – yes, there’s seven years between them almost to the day.
Since he began playing, I haven’t missed many games. I’ve been to away football games at 4 in the afternoon and traveled roads home at 11 at night from places I hardly knew existed.
The best part is that in addition to his mother – who has never missed anything he’s done to my knowledge – his brother is right there too. Now going to college and holding down a job, my oldest schedules his days off around his brother’s sporting events.
And I schedule my work as much as possible around them too.
So, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving you may ask yourself? As Thanksgiving approaches I’m thankful for my boys and all they mean to me.
I’m also thankful for an oldest son who doesn’t hold the things I missed against me and doesn’t resent that I’m trying to do better for his brother.
And, I’m thankful for the chance to do it better.
God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving.
Thadd White is Group Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise and Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.