Sunday, August 19, 2012

"The Old Guard Is Dying..."

Not a perfect "mug" shot, but it's neat.
Many, many eons ago, in the mid 1980s, a young tot stood proudly at the check out at the Holy Land of toy dispensaries in our beloved hamlet of Jackson, the Toy House for those of you lacking in local knowledge. Counting out his hard earned yet meager allowance, this young boy slid the coinage across the counter, eagerly trading said money for his desired prize: the Kenner made Supermobile for the Last Son of Krypton himself, Superman. Why in the name of Rao Superman needs any type of conveyance is beyond me. The dude can fly, ya' dig? How "super" can he really be if he needs a damn mode of transportation?!? Sure, I've since learned it was invented to shield him from Kryptonite should he be overwhelmed, but I think it was a cheap maneuver to fill wallets.

Ignorant to the annoying details of comic knowledge and/or crappy capitalist consumerism that led to the creation of acquired toy, this young'un frolicked away from the Toy House, prize in hand and father in tow. Where they were headed is lost to this child's memory; what mattered was his prize and the pride in knowing it was self purchased.

Among other things the young boy was oblivious too was that his allowance he brought with him wasn't quite enough to cover the cost of the toy. In fact, his father had subtly handed the clerk enough money to cover the remaining cost. This was the boy's earliest example he can still recollect in receiving monetary assistance from his parent's, even if initially unaware. Yes, this was the first example in his memory, but by no means would it be the last.

Me Old Man
Switching gears from the 3rd person, the young boy was me, and the father was, of course, my father. Likely you had guessed that already; after all, I gave plenty of hints. The tidbit about a Superman related toy being such an early memory along should have been a clue. Other hints might have helped, least of which is that it's my damn blog. For your viewing pleasure, I've included a pic of the father in question, though I wish I had more pics, especially from the time of the event (eons ago).

While the assistance rendered by my father isn't exactly the variety of which I've been receiving lately, it still illustrates a very fine point: my parents have always been there for me, either in the shadows or in a more real and physical way.

Throughout the years, they've been there in many different ways. My mother has been there as an eager and willing ear to all my problems, both trivial and more serious. My father worked some of the worst hours I could imagine, but I'll be damned if missed a Tee-Ball game or any similar event. Another wonderfully fond memory of my mother is of the two of us - mostly her - constructing a city and a system of tunnels out of the dirty pile in our back yard for my toys to populate. Between the two of them, they have provided me with a wealth of memories that bring a smile to my face in a moment's notice, pre-emptive shame in consideration of actions that I may (or may not) make, and tears to my face when thinking of things that have happened, are happening, and may come to pass.

My Mudda'
Several years ago, during an Uncle's funeral, a cousin brought tears to my eyes with words concerning his father. However disrespectful it may seem, my attention quickly shifted to thoughts of my own father, and also of my mother, both of whom were older than my Uncle at the time of his passing. Aware that we're all finite beings, it still doesn't occur to your heart - at least not mine - that your parents will someday move on from this world, and that you'll have to wait for your next life to hug them again, find comfort in their company, or to be consoled by them, as only parents are able to console. Furthermore, it's not solely the loss that is confronted; it's your own mortality. "The old guard is dying, and someone must fill their ranks." It's up to us to preserve their histories, until a time comes when another is able to preserve ours.

While in this train of thought, you might wonder if I'm thinking more of what comes after me, than what has come before. On the contrary, I couldn't be less concerned of those that follow in my footsteps. It's not that I don't care or don't want them to think fondly of me, at least not really. In an odd contrast, I want my parents to be proud of themselves through pride in the way I've turned out. Knowing that they did their best as parents ought to be enough, however, I want my life to validate this for them. I want my actions to stand as a testimonial to their awesome parenting.

In recent years, however, I feel as if I'm failing them. Events have occurred that were beyond my influence, and others have happened that I were under my influence. Unfortunately, several of the latter examples were not handled with the prudence with which they should have been handled. It is in this respect, that I feel that not only I am failing myself, but failing to validate feelings of adequacy in my parents.

At every turn, they are still there for me. Morning conversations over coffee, or helping me burn the midnight oil with a dilemma that I, at 32 years young, can't handle without their sage wisdom. Their help extends to the material as well, willing and (usually) able to lend a helping hand. If the situation is beyond improving, they at least can offer something to help ease the suffering, recently in the form of a cold glass of Bareman's witch I myself refused to purchase lately seeing it as something too frivolous.

I know I'm their child, but I should be taking care of them at this point. They've paid their dues, and they deserve a damn break. They shouldn't be letting themselves be worn down by what I perceive as me failing them. Yet, still they assume the role of protectors and comforters; confidants and counselors dispensing out harsh criticism only to build us up with advice born of years of love and learning. My mother and father exhibit love beyond measure, likely that of which only another loving parent can understand. When, and if, I have my own children, I can only hope that I will mean as much to them, as my own parents mean to me.

Mentioned before, "the old guard is dying." It's with this knowledge - and fear - that I pray they remain here long enough to look upon me, and all of my siblings, with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I want to know that they were fantastic parents; not feel it, but know it.

Much love, my Andyvillians...

Love the hell out of both of 'em! Looks odd that they both have their eyebrows cocked. If I remember correctly, she has a bruise and swollen eye; she fought my nephews head and the head won.