I’m relatively confident my dad never knew when Father’s Day was. He probably figured it out when he was forced to open presents, but it wasn’t something he enjoyed. He only liked the fact that it brought the family together. He enjoyed sitting back and watching the loud chaos that we all bring to any room (he was more of a watcher than a participator.)
Dad wasn’t a good father so he could receive accolades and never expected attention for it. In his mind that was just what fathers did….they looked after their kids. There are a lot of things I can think of as examples of how he was a good dad, but there is one memory in particular that I always recall. We were somewhere in the mountains and I had climbed on some rocks. I got up, but was way too terrified to climb down and certainly too scared to jump. I was paralyzed with fear. I may have been blubbering. Dad appeared and held out his arms. I jumped into them. At no time did I think I would fall….and I didn’t. That was who he was in my life. The quiet rescuer I could always trust. The strength when I was weak. Probably the reason I found it easy to trust a Father God.
As I got older, he taught me to rescue myself because in his mind it was beyond silly to think that I couldn’t. When I was not confident, he forced me to be. There were things he never made me learn….the reason my kitchen ceiling still needs to be drywalled without him being around. Daddy fixed it with perfection the one other time it was needed. He knew me and using my hands for projects will never be my gift. But for most things he encouraged me to be self sufficient. He and my mom raised capable adults. (And I am capable of finding someone to fix it….but I am a bit more of a procrastinator than either of my parents.)
I guess Father’s Day was more for us than him. It’s good to be reminded that you got a really great gift. Not everyone did. It breaks my heart that many did not get a good father. Those of us who did so often take them for granted….because we never knew anything else.
Any time I do anything hard for me, I owe it to my Dad. He gave me the gift of courage. I miss his hugs and his conversation…..even the infuriatingly logical take on things when I wanted to just wallow in my emotions. It’s no wonder I kept going to him for advice… he was so often right and it surprised me how well he knew me.
I try to celebrate my dad’s life instead of focusing on his death. He would not have been flattered by excessive grieving. It was not his way. He would like seeing me live well, enjoy the simple pleasures in the day, and exercise that courage muscle. That is how he lives.
To those dads that did the job well, or at least made a brave attempt, Happy Father’s Day. You are a gift of gold to your children, a wealth they will carry with them forever. I miss my dad’s hugs and kisses, but he engrained himself in my soul. He lives through me…..and I can’t imagine tackling life without the underpinning of the part of me that is him.