Sunday, June 17, 2012

On Dad

There are some things in life one cannot fully understand, and therefore fully appreciate, until one grows up.  When I say "grow up," I mean take over those responsibilities that one did not have when one was a child, such as paying one's own bills, faithfully attending work day in and day out despite the repetitiveness, feeding one's pets, budgeting one's income so one CAN feed oneself and one's pets, repairing one's living space, etc.

Having grown up, mostly, I look back on my childhood and more fully appreciate the things my Dad did for me and my sister.

  • He tirelessly went to work to provide for us.
  • He fixed a myriad of items around the house, and if he didn't know how, he'd either learn, or find the right person to do it for us.
  • He showed us how to change the oil in a car, the tire of a car, how to do the small things to keep our vehicles running smoothly.
  • He instilled in us the value of doing a job right the first time.
  • He ensured we knew how to handle a gun, and that we respected it.
  • He taught us the value of money, the value of earning it for ourselves, and the value of budgeting for the things we needed and the things we wanted.  He even gave us our first credit cards, and our first copy of Quicken.
  • During school, he made sure we had what we needed to succeed, right down to computers.
  • During college, he faithfully came up to visit for important events, like Parents' Weekend and at least one performance of any show in which I participated.  One time, he and Mom surprised me by bringing my sister along.  I still cry thinking about it.
  • When I got married and moved, he called just to talk, and we found we had things in common, like beer and BBQ and science fiction and Arnold movies.  He frequently told my sister and I when we were teens, "I can't wait to get to know you as adults."  I didn't understand it then, but I do now.

But there are some things in life that one does not want to fully let go, that one wants to be able to do again, or be again, because it meant so much.

Having grown up, mostly, there are some gifts my Dad gave me that make me wish I could have stayed a child.

  • The gift of quality time, wrestling with me and my sister and pretending to let us win, or giving us foot rides down the hallway.
  • The gift of memories, forcing us to take pictures no matter where we went, so that when we so had a mind, we could look at them and remember.
  • The gift of family vacations, taking us to places like Disneyland or Disney World, or to the Grand Canyon, or to Seattle to visit family and the Space Needle.
  • The gift of invested interest, coming to our elementary school Christmas plays, or to our city league basketball games, and later to our junior high and high school sporting events, be it basketball, track, or volleyball, and always taking advantage of that one hush during a game/meet to yell in a booming voice, "Go team!"  He also suffering through our high school Shakespeare plays, or parts of them, because he knew how much it meant to us for him to be there, not necessarily because he liked the playwright.
  • The gift of Star Wars and Star Trek, which became life-long relationships. :)
  • The gift of pride in his children, when he'd tell his friends and neighbors of our accomplishments.
  • The gift of faith, setting an example of prayer and trust in God so that we would see in action what we learned at church.
But most of all, he gave us the gift of love, being the best father he knew how to be, even until now, though my sister and I have moved far away.

Thank you, Daddy.  I love you.  Happy Father's Day.

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