This I Believe

Leanne - Portland, Maine
Entered on February 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: parenthood

I believe that by looking through someone else’s eyes, we are able to see people in ways we never imagined.

For the first thirteen years of my life, my dad was just my dad. Some people called him Leon, some called him Leo and sometimes my mom called him a pain in the ass. But I never bothered to see the son, friend or husband he was to other people because he was always just my dad and I thought that’s all that mattered. That is, until I saw him cry for the first time.

It was a day I had seen coming but never thought would actually arrive. Hours passed like seconds until I found myself standing in front of my grandfather’s casket on a snowy day in January. And then I felt like time just stood still. Draped over the dark wood was an American flag that sheltered his casket from falling snow. Two men, dressed in white gloves and military uniforms, approached the casket and folded the flag while the sounds of a bugle played from a tape player in the background. My eyes followed the flag from the white gloves of the military guard to the uncovered hands of my father who accepted the flag with tears streaming down his face, barely able to say the words “I know my dad would be proud.” It was the first time I had ever seen my dad cry. With every tear rolling down his cheek, I realized that it wasn’t my grandfather who died, but rather my dad’s dad who died. My grandfather was the man who taught my dad how to be a dad; how to be my dad. He gave him the sense of humor that was passed onto me. My dad attended almost every soccer game I played in because his dad supported him in the same way. I started to cry even more because the love I shared with my dad was the same love he shared with his own, and now it was gone. Through my dad’s eyes, I saw that he was a son, proud of the man he got to call dad. And I was proud of the man my grandfather got to call his son.