Father’s Day Without Dad
Last Father’s Day was my first without my Dad being here on this earth to share it with. I was incredibly blessed to have a father who was truly an integral part of my life. He and my Mom taught me so much about how to live life; how to treat others, how to deal with disappointment, how to have true joy. He provided us with vacations and experiences that I’m sure we couldn’t afford, all under the guise of “making memories.” He encouraged me as I dealt with difficult relationships and life situations and called them “character builders.”
My Dad was a hard working minister, and in addition to being married to my mother he was truly “married” to the church. Days were filled with pastoral visits and sermon preparation, and many evenings were filled with meetings and trainings. Thus is was that one day when I was very young I (apparently) asked my mom, “Does Daddy sleep here at home?” He was always up and gone when I awoke and came in after my bedtime. When Mom shared that question with my Dad, he immediately determined to spend more time with his family.
Sunday afternoons were then filled with trips to the park where he would spin us around and around until we were so dizzy we couldn’t stand. Some evenings we walked to the floodwall and flew kites together. He read the Sunday cartoons with us. He taught us his love of plants and all things green. He took us shopping for clothes each new school year. He talked to us in depth around the supper table. He invested himself in raising two daughters in a way that I can never ever repay.
Pop always encouraged us to treat others as we wished to be treated. He advised us to pray for those who had hurt us, saying that it is difficult to hate someone that we are praying for. He taught us to try to learn important lessons from tough situations. He encouraged us to strive for a relationship with Christ. He showed us how to love on others and to share generously of ourselves and our possessions. He made us say “please” and “thank you.” He taught us to genuinely appreciate all that we had and to never take things for granted.
In later years he invested himself in his grandchildren, doing much of the same things that I have mentioned. Trips to the park and the candy store, teaching them how to care for the yard and grow things, taking them shopping for school clothes, sharing his faith with them. He could talk for hours about his grandchildren and how wonderful they were.
Every single time that my Dad closed a conversation with any of us in the family, no matter the generation, he always closed with “I love you and I am SO proud of you.”
So it is that I find myself this Father’s Day missing the man that was my father. My Dad. My role model. And in asking myself how I can best honor his memory, today and always, I have decided that I will strive to continue to practice those things that he taught me while he was here on this earth. Treat people the way I want to be treated. Pray for others. Strengthen my relationship with God. Be thankful for everything and never take anything for granted. Say “please and thank you” and give generously. Learn from my “character builders.” Remember to tell those around me that I love them and I am proud of them.
Miss you, Dad. Love you. And I have always been proud of you, too.