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Father’s Day reminders

Every June, we’re reminded about the men who helped shape us into who we are today. They continue to influence the direction of our life, even when they have moved on from the world.

From all the baseball and football games you’ve watched together to umpiring and working together for more than a decade, nothing is more amazing than getting the opportunity to relive those experiences with your own children.

I have a young family with Kyra and Arabella four months away from turning 5 and 2, respectively. Kyra’s about to hit a milestone in her short life of being old enough to play sports after she participated in gymnastics for more than a year. Arabella isn’t quite there, but she loves to mimic her sister. They even love playing catch together.

But while the family continues to grow, you’re often reminded about what Elton John’s been saying for the last 20 years regarding the circle of life. You begin to welcome your children to the world but at the same time, the inevitable approaches.

My wife’s grandfather, Chuck, passed away last month, leaving her with no more men in this generation on her family’s side.

I didn’t know Papa Chuck that long but in the short seven years he was part of my life, I could see how much he meant to my wife and her family when she was growing up. He was the grandparent that everyone wants to become when it’s their turn to retire, settle down and enjoy the remaining years of their life.

He was at all the sporting events, cheering on his 40-plus grandchildren. He didn’t miss the band recitals and would even brave the cold weather during marching band season. He felt privileged to watch his grandchildren shine their brightest in front of their peers, making him a continuously proud papa.

In his eyes, they could do no wrong.

Eighth place was just as good as first. Missing a couple eighth notes during an up-tempo march went unnoticed. It was still a masterpiece.

As Father’s Day approaches this weekend, it presents an opportunity for reflection as well as looking ahead to the many special moments that still remain.

Our generation is approaching one of the few inevitable times when one generation is about to say farewell to the world while a new one is welcomed.

You tend to try to squeeze out more memories from your surviving grandparents and can’t welcome the thought of losing them soon. Ralph is the remaining grandfather on both sides of the family and with Papa Chuck’s passing last month, it’s difficult to suppress those thoughts that Ralph is nearing the last leg of his amazing journey and concluding this generation of the men in our family.

While they may depart this world, they still remain alive in our memories. Whether it’s flipping through a stack of photos or recalling an old story, they will continue to live as strong as they did in person.

Seeing how my grandparents interacted with me and my siblings and then watching them react with my own children, it opens your eyes even more about how much more you have to live for. You’re not just living for yourself or your wife. You’re not just living for your children but your children’s children.

The importance of this Sunday doesn’t go unnoticed because how much the men in our life influence the way we live.

My grandfathers were supportive and cared. Any chance they had to watch a baseball game or come visit for dinner, they didn’t hesitate. There’s never a dull moment or awkward silence during conversation as they had countless stories to share. Whether it’s recalling their days in the military or operating a locomotive in California, the stories were amusing. But more amusing is the excitement in their tone when they shared a memorable experience.

Grandpa Joe didn’t tell a lot of stories but his large backyard in Dayton made for some fun battles with my brother. Grandpa Frank, who always wore an Inspector Clouseau-like hat when we saw him during our short visit in England, always checked in to see how his family in the states was doing.

Grandpa Ralph’s passion for sports made us fall in love with him when he married my grandmother. Grandpa Chuck’s love for golf was strong but when he saw his great grandchildren, there was no match for his attention. Not even Tiger Woods making a comeback would turn his head when he was around Kyra and Arabella.

We’re reminded every year, especially in May and June, of the men and women who play an important part of our life. From knowing them our entire life to only a few years, their actions and presence leaves a lasting impression.

It helps us in raising our own family, using those simple tidbits of advice to create the best life for our children. You may not be raising the next Derek Jeter, but everything they do matters as if they are the best. And they truly are.

Happy Father’s Day.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at lvnsports@yahoo.com.