Friday, June 17, 2011

Father's Day Reflections

Circa 1973 -  Mom and Dad were 23
 When my father was my age, 38, I was 16.  I saw him as wise, strong, stable.  I saw my parents as old, and wondered who I would be and where I would be at their age.  Oh, the naivety of youth.

I realize now that my dad was likely just holding on.  He was making life work, not having all the answers, but faking his way through it anyway.  I have found a new stability in the past year and a half, and I wonder if he had found that yet.  I have no children, and although part of me still feels 18, I appreciate the wisdom that has come with age.  I wouldn't relive any of my past, because life was hard enough the first 38 years.  But those experiences made me stronger.  Having 16 and 17 year old daughters, did my dad feel 18?  Likely not.  Did he have it as together as I assumed?  Likely not.  But I believed in him.  I knew he would make everything OK.  As long as I had my dad, things would work out.

I now see my dad's white hair, his tired eyes, and the scar on his chest.  One day he will not be here, and I will still be OK.   He has taught me well.  I can take care of myself.  He has seen me through financial, relationship, workplace, and religious caverns.  Because of my dad's consistent love, devotion, care, and respect, I have learned to be the strong woman he had hoped I would become.   His example has shown me what integrity is, what devotion is, what respect is. 

Me and Dad around 1995
I needed my dad at 16 for financial, emotional, and religious reasons.  Now, I need him for wisdom.  I gleen what I can from him.  My favorite times with him are when we are alone, visiting, going over our hopes, our disappointments, our dreams, our failures.  We analyze each others' dreams and each others' experiences.  His knowledge is vast.  Yet he is willing to listen to my take on things.  At these times, our relationship is not just father/daughter.  It's friendship. 

My dad made mistakes.  He wasn't perfect.  But his devotion to us--his family--overrides all of those errors.  His consistency in my life has been priceless.  He believed in me when I didn't believe in me.  He prayed for me when I told him not to waste his time.  He doesn't have to be harsh with us, because we know him well enough to see when we have disappointed him.  That is punishment enough.

I am blessed to have a father I respect.  I am blessed to have his example in my life.  I only hope I can one day be such an example in the life of a child.

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