Sunday, June 18, 2006


It's father's day, a day in which we show our love and appreciation to the man in our lives who made so much of a difference, whether it be good or bad.

I love my father, I started thinking back over the years of my childhood, young adulthood.....he is the man in my life in which I have some of my most wonderful memories.....he is also the man in my life of whom I have some of my most painful memories.......and even though the things he did were indeed some of the worst...he still is my father, and I have been able to forgive him.

As I remembered the wonderful things about him, I started asking myself what makes a good father.

I think that answer varies, it depends upon so many things.

Their children knowing that they love them, they respect them, they are proud of who they whatever way he is capable of showing all of those things...that makes a great father.

I have been lucky, my father does not judge me, he accepts me for who I am, for the mistakes I have made. As important as that is, he is also proud of me..he lets me know that....not always in words, but in his actions....he always has.

I look back at my childhood days with my father, he taught me so much. As I said, he caused me great harm at times, emotionally and physically, but as a middle-aged adult, as a parent, I can look back over the years, and know that the good very much outweighs the bad.

My father taught me..............................

To love the written word, to read, and read and read.
To always keep learning, to keep my mind open.
To love unconditionally, even if I may disagree with someone, of the choices they make, that doesn't mean I stop loving them.
He taught me that love is shown in actions, not just words, that love is forgiveness, no matter how long it takes to reach that point.
He taught me that love is acceptance, we accept the one's we love for exactly who they are, no more, no less......even when we have high expectations, even if the one we love isn't able to meet those expectations, we must make sure they know they are loved, wholeheartedly and completely.

I think of some of the things he taught me, and for a man of his generation, it amazes me that he was willing to teach his little girl these things, that he was okay with the fact that there were some things that I was even better at than my older brother ....

My father taught me how to swim, he cheered me on even when I was beating my older brother in a race, he didn't show favoritism, but he always cheered the winner. He taught me how to break in and "make" a baseball glove my own, how to throw a baseball hard, far and fast, how to hold a bat, the proper stance, how to have a good strong swing. He taught me that having a competitive streak is a good thing.

He taught me how to place my fingers perfectly on a foot ball, I could never throw it without a wobble, but he did teach me to get it to the person I was passing it to, and that even though I was often smaller than those I played the game with, that I could use my quick feet, strong legs, and intelligence to play just as good a game as the "big boys". Too bad I let myself get out of shape, and can't do it now :(

He taught me how to shoot a gun, how to handle them safely, to have a respectful fear of them.

He taught me how to make a fist, and how to use that fist in the most effective way.

He taught me that I could do anything, learn anything, if I set my mind to it.

He taught me that I am more stubborn than him, and that having a stubborn streak can be a good thing too.

My father taught me to not "do" gender stereotyping....even though there were truly times when I thought he was categorizing us....he really wasn't. Both of my parents worked all of my childhood. There were times in our lives when he was our main caregiver, either because of work schedules, or during a time when my mother suffered from a debilitating disease in her late twenties/early thirties. He was both our mother and father then. Again a something that was unusual in a man of his generation.....I see this legacy in my two brothers......I also see it in the expectations my sister and I had in the father's of our own children, a hindrance to them at times.

My father taught me how to make the BEST sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, and chipped beef gravy or (S.O.S) from his navy days.

He taught me that no matter what, no matter how bleak things may seem, I can keep going.
My mother had a hand in teaching me all about loving, and going on, but if my father had not been a part of that, I wonder if I would feel that sense of "being a survivor" quite so strongly.

Anyway..........Happy Father's Day to all the wonderful father's out there.....I know some of you are the very best fathers you can be....and that is all anyone can ask of you.

Enjoy this day set aside for you, enjoy that ugly tie, or that salmon pink polo shirt. Enjoy the fact that your children, or the children whose lives you are a part you and want to show you that love.

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