• Sean Barney

Taking the baton from Dad

As a father with a two-year-old who has been home during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, I was looking forward to Father’s Day as a day to celebrate, well, me.  I mean, over three months I had done it. I had represented my clients in court via Zoom, with an occasional toddler in diapers running past in the background. I had ordered a medicine ball on Amazon so that I could, while our toddler was down for his nap, do squats and throws and all such in our driveway instead of at the Y. I had, round the clock, supervised, entertained and, in brief, sparkling moments, successfully educated a toddler. And I had, here and there, put myself out there (virtually) to be the Eighth District’s representative on City Council.  Life has a way of giving us perspective.  My father passed suddenly and unexpectedly week before last. After receiving a call from my mother in the early hours of Sunday morning, asking for my thoughts on decisions she was suddenly forced to make regarding the efforts that should be made to save the man she had been married to for 50 years, I began to pack a bag to take on my trip to be with her. I hugged our 10-year-old daughter and I put my hand on our little son’s head. I began to wonder how they will feel someday, hopefully many years from now, when they, as they will, learn that my presence in their lives has ended.  I have many hopes when it comes to what my kids will feel when I have run the race. I hope they will remember me as someone who was involved in the community, someone who believed our lives are entwined with the lives of our neighbors and that, to live our best lives, we have to work together to build our collective possibilities.  This Father’s Day, more than most Father’s Days, is, for me, about the passage of time and the passage of responsibility. The great continuity of life is our obligation to the next generation. When the baton is handed to us, may we run the race well.