My father loved the mountains, walking, and being outdoors. We did some of that together when I was growing up, but I wish we’d done a lot more. Still, he passed it along in other ways, telling me stories of walking in the Vienna Woods as a boy, riding his motorcycle through the countryside, and about his parents’ summer cottage in the mountains.
Like many parents, my dad and mother paid for me to go to camps in the summertime. That was indeed a great gift: to lean how to paddle a canoe in Maine, to sail and swim in pristine lakes, and to camp in canvas pup tents with my bunkmates. But for all of the fun I had there, I rarely got to do any of it with my dad.
I often think of my dad when I walk in the White Mountains and how much he would have loved them. I think of what it would have been like to camp and cook together, to talk into the night by a campfire, and watch the stars from the mountain tops.
As my father aged, he shared more of himself with me, giving me a better sense of who he was and why he’d made the choices he did in his life. I am not a parent so I can’t give you advice about how to raise your child, but as a son, I’ll tell you this.
I wish I’d spent more time with my dad growing up, as a young adult, and in middle age. The choice not to was as much my own as was his, but it’s something I regret now that he has passed away. While losing your dad is inevitable. Losing shared moments with him is not. Don’t let the time slip away.
I treasure the memories of being with my dad outdoors, but I wish I had more of them.
Still, I know my dad loved the mountains and he loved me.