How wrong I was! As I've grown older and experienced my share of ups and downs, as I've married and become a father myself, as I've begun to address the unfinished business of my life, I've become increasingly aware of how much the man in this and other photographs from my childhood has always wanted only the best for me. Now that I'm a dad, I look at this photo, taken when I was two, and see only love -- the love of my father for his son.
For so many years I resisted his urge to coach me, whether it was in baseball or life. When he prescribed a course of action, my first instinct was to do the opposite -- to drive fast instead of slow; to travel far from home, instead of pursuing the safe and secure path he wanted me to follow. I was quick, in my need to separate from him and his dreams for me, to think that he never really understood or appreciated me for who I was, that he wanted to make me into a greater, perfect, idealized version of himself. Over the years I persuaded myself that he never really loved me, that if I ever had children, I would become a different sort of dad.