By Christopher O'Malley
Father’s Day has always been a collage of emotions for me. I feel most blessed by God for having three beautiful children and a loving wife. I hold enormous joy in seeing our children grow in faith, character, knowledge and skill. I love them all so much and I pray that I will have been a good father to each of them in my life. I also think about how much I’ve been gone from home in the course of my career and how much I’ve missed in their lives. Time has gone by too fast for my own good, but what a wonderful life I’ve been given.
I also think about my own father. He died when I was one year old and I have no memory of him. My mother played the role of both parents to the four of us siblings and gave us all her love and support. My mother has been as good as they come but, even so, growing up without a father creates many challenges. You miss a friend in sharing successes and failures. You miss a teacher in helping you understand right from wrong, charity from selfishness and how to live life in God’s grace. You miss a lighthouse of perfect, unconditional love that, no matter what the calamity, brings you safely home.
Some of my fondest memories as a child were stories from kind people about my father. Those stories made me believe that he was one of the greatest men to have walked the earth. They gave me the gift of a vivid image of a wonderful, loving father that I never had the chance to know for myself. The confidence that has carried me through this life has, in many ways, come from those stories and from those that loved me enough to tell them.
Today, I’m on a flight with my son on our way to a Chopin piano competition that he has worked very hard to earn. I’m so proud of him. On the way, we had a stopover in my hometown of Minneapolis. On the decent, we could see Fort Snelling cemetery which is where my father is buried. Seeing this reminded me of all those stories and I took the opportunity to share them with my son. I felt my father had a hand in what was happening and was telling me. “You are a good son and now a good father. I’m proud of you.”
To all the fathers, friends, priests, counselors, coaches and everyone who play the role of a father in children's lives, Happy Father’s Day and God bless you all.