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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

     Father. Dad. Papa. Pop. Whatever you call him one thing is for sure. He is one of a kind. We are shaped and molded and become the people we are by the people and experiences in our lives. Our Dads play an important if not fully understood role. Most of us grow up knowing the role our mother's play. That too is a complicated relationship, but with Dad's it's different and I'm not sure they fully (or any of us) understand how much influence they have on us.
A young man in the Navy
      For much of my young life my dad was working. He was in the Navy, then he had a job that took him away for days, even a week or so at a time. He worked hard and even won awards for his job performance. Somehow in his absence and in part because of our mom, we respected him for his role as head of the family. He was everything from a truck driver, to a Safety Man over a fleet of trucks, to an auto body man that did show quality paint jobs, to a hospice chaplain and Clown.  Our dad didn't "rule" by fear but we did get disciplined when we had behaved badly. He was fair and honest. He talked TO us, not at us. He taught us things we probably didn't even know were life lessons at the time. He was also so much fun! He made us shaped pancakes. We could tell him what we wanted and in minutes there would be a pancake in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head, a giraffe, even money, with different sizes for each of your "coins". He took his vacation time from work during the Summer and we camped at the lake for at least a week. One Christmas we went out of state to his parent's house. It was not the most pleasant trip (a whole other story!). We arrived back home in the very early hours of either Christmas day or the day after. We were tired, worn out and after the dismal trip just ready to be home. We we sure Santa had passed by our house since no one had been there and there were no milk and cookies for him. When we opened the door three kids lit up brighter than the sun and two tired parents were delighted to see their kids joy. It seemed the room was completely filled from the corner where the Christmas tree was almost to the door! All the weariness melted away and we were transformed into laughing smiling faces. I didn't find out until many years later that mom and dad had given one of my best friend's dad the key to our house so he could put the presents out in their absence. Even as an adult the memory of coming through that door makes me smile. Because of Dad's hard work, strong ethics, Mom's love and support of him, their unified teamwork and their love for their children, we had a childhood filled with great memories. There were still bad things and tough times we went through, but without the family I was blessed with, those time would have been a lot worse and I would not have become the person I am.
     As an adult I have a completely different relationship with my Dad. It has evolved into a more than just being his daughter. He is my friend. I can talk to him about adult things and still have tons of fun with him. Last year he got very sick and only after an exam did we find out he had had a heart attack and had to have stents put in to open a clogged artery. Thankfully he recovered and is much better now. It was so scary sitting in that hospital thinking we might lose him. Even now those kind of thoughts bring tears to my eyes. Even as adults, our family needs him... I need him. We are still evolving, changing, growing. I am not done learning from him (I WILL get the hang of making balloon art, I promise, Dad!)

A whole new personality!
     Because of the man he was when I was growing up I became the person I am. And because of his example, I married a man who has been the best father to our son. My husband is setting good examples for our son teaching him things that will stay with him forever and guide him through life. I have watched my husband morph from a high school boy through college graduate, to a husband, to a business man and to a father. Again, a life not without problems or troubles, but one filled with unique experiences that could have only become treasured memories because of him. The are our own, unique and one of a kind to us. I can only pray that when my son is reflecting on his childhood that the force of the happy times, fun memories and lessons he learned bring him an appreciate and gratitude that he knows is irreplaceable. I know that because of the man his dad is, he is already well on his way to becoming a fine man. 

I have been blessed with men in my life that were and are positive influences and role models. I am blessed that I am still able to able to learn from them. Above all I am blessed to have them here with me in this life. I love you Dad. Thank you for all it all. I love you honey. Thank you for being the Dad you are. I could not ask for more. 

A Hands-On Dad
Building Memories

To all the dad's out there. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY. 

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