John W. Fountain and his son Malik | Photo provided by John W. Fountain
Malik is attending school out of state. He gets to choose his own journey.
A reader writes: “Just got to tell you that I loved your column yesterday. I also had an absentee father (until I was nearly an adult) and I always told myself that a bad example is nevertheless, an example, and vowed to do better.
“Being a good father is the best thing I’ve ever done and what I’m most proud of. I can clearly see you’re a great father too.”
Thanks so much. …As a kid whose father abandoned him, I used to think that it was always the children who missed out most when their father was absent from their lives. I am a witness now that it is the father who misses out most.
What an amazing, difficult and yet exhilarating experience! So glad we are brothers in the fraternity called good fathers. Peace & Blessings, JOHN.
Another reader writes: “Like so many parents and grandparents, you are facing a new passage in your life. Malik, like my four college-age grandchildren, belongs to the future.
“We do not. You and his mother have taught him all that you could.
“Now, he needs to learn the lessons that college and what follows will teach him. Take some deep breaths and be grateful for the years you had the chance to be a hands-on parent.
“I hope you will be proud of Malik as he goes through life. It is gratifying to watch what our children can become.”
Dear reader, thank you for your thoughtful note. We raised him and our other children, always mindful that we had been entrusted to help prepare them for their journey and calling in this life.
But have you ever heard the song: “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday?”
I’m just having a moment over closing one chapter in our lives but so looking forward with “tip-toe anticipation,” as my father-in-law would say, to writing other chapters with our son.
And through my tears, after depositing him on his East Coast Ivy League campus, I could clearly see — to quote my father-in-law again — that this is indeed “a delicious hour” in our lives.
A reader writes: “Just read your article about your son, Malik, and you. What a wonderful and well-written article. But more to the point, all the best to your son in his college career. And here’s to a dad that cares so much.”
Dear Sir, thank you for such a kind note and for the well wishes. So glad to have been blessed to take this journey called fatherhood.
Another reader writes, “Hi John, longtime reader, I always read and enjoy your columns, but wanted you to know this column was exceptionally beautiful.
“My oldest child, a son, is entering his senior year of high school, and knowing that he will be going out of state for college, I am savoring the time we will spend together this year.
“Good luck to Malik, God bless you both.”
Dear Sir, thank you. My son is attending school out of state as well. A friend suggested that it might not be so hard if he was at an in-state school. I’m not so sure. Besides he gets to choose his own school and journey. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yes, savor every moment. So many memories to cherish forever.
As I drove away from my son’s campus recently, I was awash in memories from him as an infant to cutting his hair over the years to building the picnic table in our backyard.
Tears fell as my wheels turned over the rainy highway and the joy of fatherhood and a good son filled my soul.
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