Lucky to call him ‘Dad’
I count myself very lucky to have been raised by wonderful parents. I am especially fortunate to still have my mom in my life, and am thankful for that blessing each day. However, this coming weekend marks the day we celebrate those special men in our lives, Father’s Day.
I recall so many wonderful memories of my father over the years. He was a wonderful man with a very dry sense of humor. He enjoyed cooking on the grill and loved to enjoy times with family and friends. He taught me how to row a boat, catch a ball and ride a bike. He taught me how to bait a hook, shoot a gun and mow the lawn. As I got older, he always gave me flowers for my birthday. He would take me to lunch from time to time and share some time with just me. Being the only girl with three brothers, it was nice to have some dad and daughter time.
There was not a thing it seemed my dad couldn’t do. He was always remodeling the house; of course, it wasn’t until I grew up and had a home of my own that I truly understood that there is always something around the house that needs fixing or changing. I learned how to paint, drywall, and do general repairs from watching and helping him. I am certain that he could have gotten these tasks done much faster without my help, but he never complained (at least not to me).
We had a large garage that was filled with mini bikes, cars and bicycles. There was usually always something in need of repair, so I would follow him around sometimes and learn a thing or two. Luckily, my dad thought I needed to know how to change the oil and the tires, fill the fluids on the car and drive in reverse before driving forward! He loved to drive and made sure we all were very skilled drivers. I remember every year on our drive “up north” for the summer, awaiting my turn behind the wheel when he would let us sit on his lap and steer. I remember driving through the Smoky Mountains with my driver’s permit, Mom a nervous wreck in the back seat and Dad telling me I could get a little closer to the edge because the view was so great! Mom didn’t think that was very funny, but Dad and I just smiled.
I remember the day he told me that he had cancer. I was 16. When I was 17, he told Mom to tell my brothers and me that although he wanted to be there for Christmas, he didn’t know if he would be. And Dad knew, because he passed away on the 15th of December. So close; he tried hard. I remember the color of the sky that day. I remember the snow falling from the sky that morning. I remember his last moments and I remember the drive home after he was gone. I remember thinking, “He won’t see me graduate high school, go to college, or marry, or have children.”
But today, I remember how lucky I am to have called him “Dad.” He continues on in the laughter of my children and the silly traditions we carry on at holidays. Every time I go out fishing, play ball with my kids, paint a room or fix something, he is there. He is always with me, but I regret not having the wisdom all those years ago to ask so many questions. I wish I could do that now, but I can’t. But today, I know he did see me graduate; he sees his grandchildren and he shares all those moments with me, because I carry him forward.
So, this Father’s Day, I hope those of you fortunate enough to share your life today with your dad take time to share old memories and make new ones. And for those of you who are only able to reflect on your dad, I hope you make time each day to share him with others in your life and that your memories give you comfort, as they do me. My favorite quote is one written on a simple card that came with a rose my dad gave me on my 16th birthday. It simply read, “A single flower to reflect the single love I have for you.”
Happy Father’s Day to my father and to all of the men out there fortunate enough to be “Dad.”