I believe in the power of second chances. No matter what it’s called or how it arrives, second chances have the power to change lives.
Recently my father, age 72, decided to give up the life he knew in California and move to the mid-west for me, his only child. He gave up his friends, his three times a week golf games, and his 30 year history in California for a strange town, snow storms and a new life. All because it was time to heal old wounds and be the father he always wanted to be.
I was my mother’s child. My father was in the military and we traveled a lot. While that travel gave me a strong sense of adaptability, it denied my father and me a chance to connect. I spent most of my childhood not quite sure when my father was going to be home or for how long. My Mom raised me. She was my rock. She was my role model, my teacher, my inspiration. She was the one person I knew loved me unconditionally.
After Mom died of cancer in 1989, my dad and I tried to connect. But the pain of her death was so hard for both of us. I was devastated; he was angry. We spent the next 18 years unable to let go of the past. We kept moving and using our busy lives as a convenient excuse to stay apart.
But eventually, we matured and I stopped moving. Now at 72 and 48 respectively, we are ready to let go of the past and focus on the present. He now lives 2 miles away from me. We are motorcycle and golf buddies. We get together over coffee and talk. He offers advice when asked, but also knows when to just listen. I do what I can to make the transition to his new life easier. Mostly, we just enjoy each other’s company.
We talk about the past, answer the questions we can and accept those things we can’t change. While there is sorrow and pain at the lost time, there is joy in the present and positive anticipation of the future. And yes, he is the father both he and I want him to be. It catches me by surprise how much alike we really are. I now understand that both of my parents love me without reservation.
The power of second chances is immense. It allows one to apologize and move forward. It allows one to forgive…..themselves and others. As long we have the ability to try again, we never really fail.
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