I turned 46 yesterday. It was a busy day of activities. Ran some errands. Coached the first half of Hannah's soccer game before booking it over to Wolf Hollow in Ipswich to run the Big Bad Wolf 5-mile trail race with my homies at Notch Brewing. Chris and Mary Ellen from Notch gave me an awesome, massive (36 oz.) beer stein for my birthday, which was filled a few times at the post-race party. Got home by 3, and then Deb and I dropped the girls off for a sleepover and headed in to Fenway for the Jays-Sox game. It was a beautiful night and the Jays obliged by actually beating the Sox, 3-2.
This is the 10th birthday in row I've documented on this blog. Much has changed in the last decade, most of which revolves around the kids getting older (one of them being born in '04). My job's the same, but very different; I've probably had 10 different direct supervisors in the last decade at least. I definitely look older thanks to the copious amounts of gray hair, but I'm in better shape now, even though I'm no longer running marathons.
Got to thinking today about what my dad was like at this age. He turned 46 in 1986, which was also the year he lost his job at the Seabrook nuke plant. He had been drinking pretty heavily for a few years and had a nasty DWI arrest the year before; it was fair to say he was seriously depressed and losing his job just gave him more time to wallow in self-pity and booze. He wasn't in the best of health, anyway, being overweight and diabetic, and within a few years that combo of booze and diabetes resulted in his body wasting away. By the time he died in '96 at the age of 55, he looked at least 20 years older.
It's hard to know exactly what was going through his head because the man didn't exactly open up to anyone; when the boozing was bad, he would cry about how he missed his family in India but I'm not sure how much of that was just the booze talking. He was never that close with anyone in his family, as far as I could tell him. Dude was all about himself. I think he believed if things went well for him, then by the properties of trickle down economics, they would likewise go well for the rest of us. But I don't remember ever having a real heart-to-heart talk with him about anything. That was where my mom came in; she handled all that messy emotional shizz that my dad wanted no part of. My brother and I absorbed all that stuff and I think we've both done pretty damn well considering how effed things got at home, especially after I went to college. But at any rate, 46 for my dad must have felt like another year in the Bataan Death March. Things were bad and just getting worse. And did they ever. He got other jobs, but he never stopped drinking or smoking until it was way too late. His body finally shut down on him, and that was that.
It's 27 years after my dad turned 46 and here I am. I've got a terrific wife and two amazing daughters who know me better than I knew my dad. I'm not saying I'm the perfect father, but I do my best. My dad's greatest lesson to me was to do the opposite of what he did, which was not give a shit. I'm involved in their lives and I'm enjoying the hell out of it. And their childhood is flying by. In nine years, Lily will be off to college and I'll be writing some lame-ass post about empty nest syndrome. So look forward to that, yo.