Traditions

Introduction by Andrea; Post written by Brad Ooten

When we started talking about Father’s Day posts, us girls at OCRO joked a lot about getting the men in our lives to do posts. We joked because they constantly say that they are starting their own blog without us and that they will call it “Our Cups Are Empty.” I’m sure it doesn’t take much for you to figure out how funny they all think they are… and what kinds of posts it would include. Yet, we really like the idea of getting the men to blog some. I just knew that Brad would be beyond mad at me for even asking him to post. Not because he doesn’t want to help, but because he doesn’t like to write… and what I wanted him to write would not be easy.

Well, he is late at getting it done. But I can tell you that if any of you know my husband, this post wasn’t one that he could just sit down and throw together. I met Brad in high school. He was sweet and cute and the man of my dreams. He was always a challenge for me… and still is in a lot of ways. He was private… quiet… about his emotions. I am the open book in the relationship… saying whatever is on my mind, telling everyone how I feel through this blog post or that. Brad is one who bottles it up and saves it. So, reading about how he feels or how he felt… well, it is really special.

I hope you enjoy it… Happy Father’s Day.

************************************************************************************************************************************

Mortality. This is a very difficult subject to face, especially when referring to one’s own. I remember being a very child and first learning that I would not live
forever.  This was a very disturbing and frightening revelation, and I remember crying when I first learned of this news because I wanted to live forever.  I have
been reminded several times throughout my life of the fragility of one’s own mortality with the passing of my father and step-father.  And on the week of father’s day, I would like to remember, and hopefully change, some traditions to pass on to my children that I remember from my childhood.

I am from southern West Virginia, and if you know anything about the economy of this area you know that coal is king.  I grew up the son of a coal miner, as most
kids from this area.  This would play a significant role in my childhood development in many ways.  As a young child, I remember my father coming home from working the “hoot owl” shift (3rd shift) and thinking “I don’t want to do that when I grow up.” Probably because he would be completely covered in coal dust and his face would be so black that he was almost unrecognizable. This would be the first thing I would change in my life that would have a lasting impact on me and my children.

My father passed away when I was young; about a month before my 10th birthday.  Although I was young when he passed, I do remember a lot great things that he did for my brother and me.  I remember taking weekends to travel to go motocross racing.  I remember dad coaching my brother’s football and basketball teams.  I also remember renting a pontoon boat and going out to Dewey Lake.  This was not a regular occurrence, but it is a trip that is vividly engrained into my memory.

Although I will not probably ever put my kids into motocross, I do have a love for motorcycles. And, apparently this is a genetic trait as Jake lights up every time he even hears one.  When they get older, I want to teach them how to ride.  But, I can definitely see a Harley in my future to take them along with me (hint hint).

I have already begun the coaching thing.  I am not unaccustomed to leadership roles, but for some reason coaching has always seemed like a daunting task.  I first started as an assistant coach for Bailey’s t-ball team.  I have since coached Jake’s soccer teams, Jake and Bailey’s basketball team, and still help with their t-ball.  I have gotten over the initial jitters of coaching, and plan to continue for as long as I can or that the kids are interested in sports.

The kids are no strangers to the lake.  We typically keep our boat out on the water and go out whenever we get a chance. Although, this year we weren’t able to put the boat on the water, we are going to plan a weekend or two to go camping and take the boat out.  The kids mostly just like to swim.  Bailey tried the tube last year and loved it.  Maybe when they are a little older we need to invest in some skis, wake board, and/or knee board.

After the passing of my father, I went to live with my mother permanently.  My mother and father had divorced several years earlier. Fortunately, she lived with a great man (that she later married) that took me in and raised me as one of his own. My step-father passed when I was 19 in a coal mining accident, but I got to spend a lot of time with him over those years.  I remember my step-father taking all of the kids to basketball state tournament games, going to all the sessions, and staying the entire weekend even if our local high school wasn’t in the tournament.  I remember going golfing for the first and him teaching me how he gripped the club.  I remember us going to several Marshall games and watching Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich play football. We actually even made it to one of the championship games.

I have not started the state tournament basketball trips, maybe when the kids get a little older and more interested.  In Kentucky, there are fewer games than West Virginia, but it is great competition. The state tournament is typically held at Rupp Arena which is actually close to where we live.  I may not get to spend the weekend traveling, staying in hotels, and eating out but I think the kids will still enjoy themselves.

I have taken Jake golfing a few times.  He hasn’t really golfed much, other than putting around the greens, but he really seems to enjoy going.  I still owe Bailey a trip or two.  We have ordered some kids clubs that Jake and Bailey can both use.  I believe we need to hit the driving range a few times first before we venture out to a golf course.  Maybe we should start with something easier, like a Par 3.  The good news is both kids seem interested in going and playing.

I currently have season tickets to University of Kentucky football.  Although it’s not WVU football, it will suffice for now. The kids have enjoyed tailgating and other pre-game activities.  Jake has gotten to go to a few games, and Bailey is due to go to one of the upcoming games this season.  Currently, I don’t believe they are very interested in the game itself but just more from the social aspect.  However, I believe when they get older we will need to expand our tickets from a 2-pack to a 4-pack to make sure no one misses a game.

I have picked up many traditions to share with my kids from the fathers over the years, most of the great and some of them silly.  I just hope they cherish this time in their lives as much as I did.  As for me, I still want to live forever or at least long enough to see my kids grow up.  I want to be able to give Bailey away at her wedding. I want to see Jake become a man. I want to be there to help them through their adulthood issues, and celebrate their achievements.  I also want to be there to tell them I am proud of them and the life choices they have made.  These are things that I did not get to share with my fathers, and I know I missed out on many other experiences in my life.  But, I know that I was lucky to have learned so much from the two amazing men who were there for me… even if it wasn’t as long as I would have loved.

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

There was an error submitting your comment. Please try again.

F a c e b o o k
T w i t t e r
F r i e n d s   o n   T w i t t e r