(A Personal Short Story of a Wonderful Moment in My Life – Originally Posted on Facebook 9/7/2013)
Did you know I was adopted? I was. Before I was born, my parents adopted me after several unsuccessful tries at having children of their own.
As a result of this fact, and because my parents always made me feel special for being adopted, I made the decision early in life, I would adopt a child as well at some point in my life and give them the same chance I was given.
I can’t explain it, but for some reason, I knew from as far back as I can remember being able to know, I would be a great father. I don’t know exactly why I always felt this, but I felt it from a very early age. It was, however, not to be.
After one marriage early in life that didn’t produce children for me and a wonderful career that has solidly outlined a design for my life that I love – at 53 years old, it looks like I might miss that precious moment where my 2 year old son/daughter looks up at me with those loving eyes and says, “Daddy, I love you.”
Fast forward to September 6, 2013….. On a business trip this week to Lake of the Ozarks, I had to fly into St. Louis and be driven 3 hours to the venue and then 3 hours back to the airport. My driver was a very nice young man (early 20’s) who was going back to school to get his 2nd degree as a licensed social worker, and was driving on the side to make some extra cash.
In the 6 hours total we spent together driving the highways and byways of Missouri, we got to know each other pretty well. He was a talkative little devil and was just plain curious about the world. Having been raised by his grandparents from 1st grade in mid-state MO., he had led a somewhat sheltered life.
He wanted to know about my life, my career, my family, my friends, my loves…etc. We got into a conversation about God (as I often do), which opened up a whole new level of questions for him and curiosity for him. He stated very clearly he was a Christian and that he wanted to meet a fine Christian woman to share his life with. He didn’t bat an eye when I told him I was gay. He immediately wanted to know if I had someone special in my life.
He asked my opinion on “this” and “that”, on “where” and “when,” on “how” and “why”…. on every topic under the sun. It was clear he wanted to learn as much as he could from me in the 6 hours we had together. He wanted to understand about alcoholism and drug addiction (which came up), he wanted to know about what I learned on my world travels to 38 countries (at that time) on 4 continents, he wanted to know about life in NYC.
I found myself very quickly feeling highly parental toward this kid (which from an age standpoint, isn’t to far off because his father is 53 too). I found myself quickly feeling a huge responsibility for the words that were coming out of my mouth. I was deliberate in my thoughts, knowing that this kid WAS listening to me. In fact, when he picked me up today to take me back to the airport, he said several times, “I thought allot about what you said about __fill in the blank___, it really impacted me.”
As we were pulling into STL for me to catch my flight out, for a moment, he was quiet (which was a rarity….LOL), then he said to me these words – that moved me to tears – “You know Rick, you would have made a great Father.”
Now, I’ve had people say that to me before, but none from a very impressionable, young man, trying to figure out what and who he wants to be in life and with such conviction in the saying of it.
When we parked and got out – he pulled my bags out of the back of the car, I thanked him and reached out my hand to shake his, but we just both hugged each other for a long time. He hugged me so tight, like a son who is grateful to his Dad for being a great Dad. I knew in that moment, I had made some good choices in my life up to that point. Choices that allowed me the opportunity to experience that moment and hopefully shape this young man’s future.
I may never have a son of my own, but I will be forever grateful for that one small moment in time where I FELT like a Dad…., and was moved to tears. Thanks Jeremy!