For Our Dad, with Love

Dads give children a safe place to grow, protected from the winds and sheltered from the rains.  Only when it’s time to teach the lesson of living does a good dad consent to let go.  Dad started his fatherly journey extremely young (when his mother abandoned her husband and three children when dad was just five years old).  Dad went on from that day, as a man, foregoing his boyish childhood to care for his sisters.

A father is worth more than all the riches in the world.  With his love, patience, strength, tenacity, tenderness, and joy, he proves it every day.  Although, especially in later years, dad had many struggles that slowly debilitated his ability to lead an active life, he seldom complained, or said “Why me?,” yet another lesson he leaves for all of us.

Lydia M. Child was an 1800’s author.  Among other things, she wrote “Over the river and through the words to grandfather’s house we go,” and “Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father,”  Yes, dad’s three children were just the beginning.  He embraced and loved all their spouses as his own, and he lived to enjoy four more generations of children born because of his forever love of Norma; All together, his extended family included 35; 6 children and their spouses; 9 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and 9 great-great grandchildren, all of which made him proud.

Dads give us the confidence we need to try, the determination to keep trying, and the humility to accept all outcomes with grace. I know in my case, dad’s quest for perfectionism sometimes got in the way of him just saying “great job;” when he instead said “only 4 “A’s,” or “you lost 18 pounds–not to worry, I’m sure you’ll find them again.”

A father’s love is carried by the wind, borne on the snows, and nurtured by spring’s gentle breezes.  In other words, his presence is all around us.  Yes, dad made his presence known and I am especially missing him now when I could use his comfort.

It takes a strong man to live up to the definition of “father.”  It takes a remarkable soul to fill the description of “dad.” Former President Barack Obama at a Father’s Day Address in 2011 said;“Above all, children need our unconditional love — whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough.”  At one time or another each of us turned to dad to share our successes to make him proud, or, to ask for his advice during trying times.

Dad holds his children’s dreams in his hands, their wishes in his heart, and their hopes in his soul.  Dad wasn’t much on touching or saying that he loved you, but he tried to do so on special occasions, like Christmas.  He would always see that whatever I had asked for that he gave me from the top of the line products.  Because he was deprived of loving parents so very young in life, he didn’t experience a close parent-child relationship–all the more reason to give him accolades for his fatherly accomplishments.

Mark Twain once said:”When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.” The irony of Mark Twain’s quote.  We have to grow up to truly appreciate the gifts of the parental love and guidance that they freely provided. 

When independence calls, a wise dad lets his child go.  In doing so, he keeps his child with him forever.  When Bob and I announced to him at ages 18 and 21 that we were engaged, his only response was “Good Luck because you’re going to need it!” Yet, we knew that he was forever there for us if we needed him.

With dependable hands, dads hold up the world long enough to allow their children to grow wings and fly.  Dad’s way of “holding up our worlds,” was to put in hard and long hours on his feet as a career printing pressman.

Sixteenth century English playwright William Shakespears said; “It is a wise father that knows his own child. I’d say dad knew all his children, intimately, although it may have been difficult for him to share his feelings.  I am so very thankful that I received so many warm touches and intimate thoughts and conversations with dad over the past 2-½ years since mom’s passing.  I think they warmed both our souls.

Great dads understand this simple truth:  We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. We are living in the hardest of times in today’s world. My prayer is that we remain close as our parents taught us and that we always support each other, regardless of the circumstances.

We will never outgrow our need for Dad.  His wisdom, generosity, and love remained important to us no matter how old we are.  Never a day will go by when I don’t reach out to talk with dad and tell him now from afar how much he is still loved.

I hope this message speaks for many of dad’s children who find it too difficult in these moments to find their voices. We all love you, dad, and we realize that our lives will never again be the same without you in our presence.  But, please, say hello to Mom and other beloved family and friends who have gone before us.  And, please “just let go and let Jesus take the wheel,” along this new and glorious road you’re travelling, called eternity.  For those granted immortality in heaven are absolutely immortal and cannot die by any cause…  



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