With Kelly on vacation, Darren Pecoraro has graced us with another guest post.
“Yell at your child and you’ll raise a yeller”, so the axiom goes. My father was a yeller, and I have been known to elevate my voice from time to time, as my 2 boys will certainly attest. Along with the occasional yelling, there is the sound of joy and laughter. Nothing is more pleasant to a parents’ ear, than the sound of their child’s laughter echoing through the halls. There are echoes in my home, both literal, and figurative.
My mother passed away in October 2002, merely 10 months after my first son, Christian, was born. I am grateful that she did get to meet him and hold him. However, it is undoubtedly one of my life’s great regrets that my mother didn’t get to know my children. When Christian would ask me about her, I would always tell him, “What I miss most about my mother, was the way she looked at you”. Although she is gone her spirit of unconditional love resonates loudly in the way my wife and I love our children. Her echo will always be with me in all that I do and say, in everything that I am, and all I will ever be.
As much as my mother was an influence on me, and by extension my children, my father (who thankfully is still with us) had a profound effect on me growing up and continues to guide us as the patriarch of our family. Not long ago, I had an incredible epiphany. My wife has said to me many times, “Wow, you sound just like your father”. And one day I caught myself saying something a certain way, and heard a familiar echo. Suddenly, I came to the realization that I don’t merely sound like my father, I have become my father. And truth be told, there isn’t anyone I’d rather be.
Shortly after this realization, I received the greatest compliment of my life, from none other, than the person whose approval I have sought my entire existence. One day my father said the following to me” I am proud of the way you are raising your children, and what kind of father you have become, and I know that your mother is just as proud”. It is a moment in my life I will never forget, a moment between a father and son that becomes frozen in time, and lasts forever. A moment not unlike the moments I am trying to make for my children. One fundamental word can sum up the entire event, Pride. Intense, genuine pride. Pride in my father for telling me something not easy to say. Pride in myself for inspiring him to say it. Pride which will continue to motivate me to be the father I want to be, the echo of pride, from my father to me, from me to my sons.
As my children continue to grow, (where does the time go?), I know in my heart that the lessons I was taught growing up will help my children the way they helped me. I see thoughtfulness, I see compassion, I witness my children perform random acts of kindness for complete strangers, and I can’t help but think, maybe my father is right. The way he has been right in almost every piece of advice he has ever given me. The way he was right when he said” don’t touch that it’s hot!” The way he was right when he said “There will always be someone tougher than you”. The way he was right when he said” If you drink too much, you will get sick”. Maybe I am doing a good job. Hello? Is there an echo in here?
The love my parents gave me, taught me how to love my children with every ounce of myself, from places in my heart I didn’t know I had. The echo continues, from my parents to me, from me to my sons, a tradition of unconditional love to continue in perpetuity. There are echoes in my home, both literal and figurative, and the sound couldn’t be any sweeter.