I saw an interesting contrast recently, and it got me to thinking. First, I saw a man walking with his young daughter. He was walking slightly ahead of her, seeming to pay no attention to her skipping along down the hall. I wasn't close enough to hear if they were talking, but he didn't seem engaged. I didn't think to much about it until later. I saw another man walking down the same hall with his daughter. He had his arm around her shoulder, was leaning over slightly to hear her talk as they walked. He guided her protectively as they left the building. I began reflecting over the difference in the two families. I don't know either family well. I just saw two fathers, one was a daddy the other didn't seem to be.
On the tenth anniversary of my Daddy's death it seems like it would be a good opportunity to reflect on what a Daddy is.
Daddy's are involved, in their kids lives.
They coach softball,
they take special daddy-kid only times.
They are silly,
they listen, they talk,
crawl on the floor as the horsey,
build a playhouse,
teach how to drive with the admonition, "do as I say not as I do",
give money to,
treat to lunch,
send to school,
drive them to school when it's icy, instead of letting them drive themselves
take them to church
lead family worship,
go shopping with their kids even when shopping isn't their thing
maintain their cars,
give them away.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on my Daddy. Everyday I miss him. I see him in my children and niece and nephews. It breaks my heart, to know that they will not know him. I remember driving home one night when I was pregnant and realizing that my father would never see my children, and just sobbing.
I have two sisters, so it was a very girl household. He never seemed to be upset by that, and whenever anyone asked if he wished for a son, he always said he thought daughters were better. Now, that was always when we were in earshot, but I sincerely believe, he was content with the family God gave him.
I know he would adore my two girls. They would have been as much a part of his daily life as they are for my mother. I really think he would have been crazy over my nephews though. Little boys were a special treat to play with at family gatherings. I have a picture of him with my cousin at about 2 that is so cute.
One of the gifts that came from his death was a visit from a man we had never met. Apparently, Daddy knew him through work, and as they were both Christians and fathers they connected. The day before the funeral, he dropped by because he wanted to share with us how often Daddy had spoken of us to him and how proud Daddy was of his family. A few days later I was in class at K-State, and that came back to me. It was "Interpersonal Relations", one of those short courses they make you take your student teaching semester. The professor said that the number one reason people are in therapy is because they have unresolved issues with their parents. They don't know if their parents were proud of them, approve of them, love them. I knew. If I hadn't, that man's visit would have told me. My father often said, "Shel, your alright, no matter what your mother says about you." It was a joke but his approval was clear.
May I use my father's example with my own children, and others.
May God be with my family this week.
DTP 8/4/47 - 1/12/97