Home > conversations, Family, Learning, Life > Mr. Latimer is a real grown-up.

Mr. Latimer is a real grown-up.

Yesterday, I got to spend the afternoon with Mr. Latimer. I’ll admit that when he rolled up to the bus stop to pick me up, I was not in a very good mood. I’ve been off track the last few days, which led me to have an off-track morning. I left my Transpass at my apartment so I had to pay for the bus, which was irritating to me since I already paid money to have Transpass. I decided to get into it with the crazy guy who kept talking to me at the bus stop. Then when I got to Upper Darby and Mr. Latimer arrived, I smacked my head on the car as I went to get in. I had to catch myself from wallowing in my own annoyance so that I could be pleasant company for Mr. Latimer, especially since he graciously offered to help me with a suburban errand and I did not want to seem ungrateful.

Another reason I wanted to be present while spending the afternoon with Mr. Latimer is because I knew he was probably feeling off-track, too. I posted early in this week that it was my brother’s birthday and that my dad and I don’t really acknowledge to each other that his is hard for us. Yesterday, though, after a few minutes in the car, he told me his girlfriend has showed him my post. We didn’t have  long conversation, but it was the right conversation. While I’m an adult-like person and don’t need as much parenting as, say, a six-year old, I do still need my dad sometimes. And this is not meant to sound critical at all of Mr. Latimer because I believe he’s always been a good dad, but I think he’s a much better dad now than he ever was before.

Although Mr. Latimer and I have been through some rough things together, we’ve dealt with them in different ways due to our different perspectives in our family. But really, my dad has been dealing with harder things for longer. In the past, he didn’t deal with those things very well.

So what changed?

Well, I think he has. Sure, he’s the same old Mr. Latimer. He makes dumb jokes and thinks most problems can be solved by wrasslin’. But he always makes the changes about himself that he can. Over the years, I have seen him work to become a better man. I don’t think it’s easy to change. Often, it’s terrifying because you have to recognize and accept that something’s not quite right in the first place. So as I’ve always loved and respected my dad, I think now I’m starting to understand him. And it’s making me love and respect him even more.

OK, sorry about all. I know Mr. Latimer’s fans were expecting something funny. So here is a typical Mr. Latimer interaction, a Christmas memory from 2010:

(Mr. Latimer opens my Christmas gift to him, a Philadelphia Judo Club t-shirt)

Mr. Latimer: I thought you were going to get me a Penn shirt.

Me: You hate Penn.

ML: I know, but I still want a shirt.

  1. Lex
    November 1, 2011 at 00:48

    The end of your post reminds me of a book I really enjoyed: “Shit My Dad Says”. Except in your case, it’s more genuine and complex.

  2. November 1, 2011 at 11:36

    I’ve heard of that book, but from what I understand that dad is a little racist and kind of nuts, which might make the whole thing a little more evocative. I’m merely poking gentle fun at my dad.

    Really, my writing can only be as good as my material, and lucky for me, Mr. Latimer is both genuine and complex himself.

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