Father’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. Without a father to celebrate with it is just not the same. It does, however, allow me to reflect on the wonderful father that I was so blessed to have.
I am the oldest of 6 children. We are a very close group! Although very close to both of our parents, the relationship with our dad (and I am sure I can speak for all of my siblings) was very special. He was the soul of the family, the hugger, the kisser, the listener, the head of the family.
Dad and I had our share of battles during my teenage years. The issues were nail polish, make up, dating, and all the other rights of passage. My mother (sweet incredible woman that she was) was somewhat old-fashioned in the sense that Dad had the last say on most issues. I am sure she was a quiet force behind the scenes but growing up in the era that we did, the man of the house was…well, the man of the house! He was most reluctant to allow me to grow into a free-spirited teenager which included me wearing sensible shoes (for good arch support) rather than the styles of the day. Despite all of this I survived-and better for it I like to think.
Dad was a hard worker and a good provider. It must have been hard but we never went without. He did not have a high school diploma having been raised during the depression and was needed to help out on the farm. He was, however, one of the smartest people I have ever met. Not only did he have good common sense, he was self-taught on just about any subject because of his love for reading and hunger for knowledge. He worked 6 days each week, was loved by his co-workers, customers, friends, and most of all by his family. He taught us the value of hard work and the rewards it offers. Dad would say there was nothing like ending a day tired and knowing a job was well done. Each evening when he arrived home he would embrace our mom in a big hug to give her a great big kiss! My friends were astonished when they saw this as many of them had never seen their parents show affection to each other. Then in turn, he would kiss each one of us. He taught us to show love and affection.
Dad also instilled into us to be honest. The value of telling the truth ranked very high with him. Honesty, integrity, and fairness. He was our guide. He was loving but we knew the boundaries.
As adults we still had the great love and respect for him. He was not our friend, he was our dad and as our dad he was one of a kind. We could laugh, talk, argue, or whatever but before we went to bed at night or left for our own homes, he would kiss us good-night and his love was ever faithful.
With his love of reading we became readers. With his love of poetry we learned to love poetry. With his kindness we learned to give kindness. He taught his four daughters to be women and his two sons to be men. He always had a joke to tell and loved talking about life. He loved sitting at the head of the dinner table-to look out over his family and count his blessings. He always cooked the Thanksgiving turkey, made the stuffing, cooked the roasts throughout the year and when he retired he even learned to bake.
Our parents were married almost 50 years before he died. While he was the head of the family, our mom was his heart.
A few years ago we had our parents laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery and his last wish was fulfilled. He was in the Navy during WWII. He was shown all the respect due each and every one of our servicemen and women.
Dad, I miss you. I am so thankful that God picked you to be my father. I am sorry I kept you up nights worrying. Thank you for your heart for family. You taught me so much.
I love you, Dad.