This Father’s Day is going to be a very difficult one for me, as this will be the second one that will be without my dad, Duane E. Carson Sr.  It was Christmas of 2015 that he passed on, and it has been a difficult time in the aftermath for myself and family.

Even though Duane is not my biological father, he meant more to me than anyone outside of my mother when I was growing up.  He was my stepfather and came into my life when I was a teenager, a difficult time for any individual to come into someone’s life.

It was a difficult transition for me and I’m positive it was difficult for him as well.  But over the years, he showed me so many different sides of himself.  He supported my mom and loved her for over two decades and went from being my stepfather to my father.

The word father is thrown around too much in our society.  And, to avoid the cliches, I think the title should be earned, not handed out.  The things that Duane taught me are things that impact me in so many ways to this day.  The class and compassion that he showed his fellow human beings is something that will never be paralleled by another person.

Duane

Duane was a wonderful man that impacted many lives during his time.

And while it is a sad time, it is also a joyous one, because my life and the spirit of being a father lives in me.  I am so fortunate to be blessed with two wonderful children, Hunter and Kyra.  And while I’m not their biological father, they treat me as if I am.  To me, that bond is all that matters in a parental relationship, and I have Duane to thank for instilling this in me.

No more true did this come into mind than at our final Challenger Baseball event.  For those of you who may not know, I am an assistant coach for the Bobcats team in the Camp Hill Challenger Baseball Little League.  Every Sunday from April until June, I get to spend my time with my son and other children who love to play baseball.  Baseball is my favorite sport and I’m honored to spend my day with these kids, sharing the game I’ve loved my whole life.

Hunter and Kyra

Hunter plays 2nd base for the Bobcats and always is supported by his sister Kyra.

In a way, it is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.  As a man who loves sports, it has always been unfortunate that Hunter has never been able to play organized sports.  It certainly is not to say that he doesn’t have the ability, because I know he does, it is just that he has a difficult time understanding the rules and doesn’t have the patience he might need.

This experience has helped fill a small void in my life that I am eternally grateful for.  Hunter is able to play until age 21, and I will be there every year as well.

But in the end, this Father’s Day is both happy and sad.  Happy because of my fortune of having a wonderful family, sad because I miss my father so much.  Still, at least I know that I had an amazing father that taught me many lessons and made me a better person.  After all, isn’t that what being a good father is about?

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