When I was small, I would watch my father march on parade and a feeling of pride would bring a smile to my face. (Yes, I was an army brat.) He looked so smart and handsome in his freshly pressed uniform, and I thought he was the biggest, strongest man in the world; our protector. And I never felt safer in a car than when my father was driving – and that was back in the day when seat belts were something you tucked into the back of the seat and ignored. It was his arm shooting out across the front of me that was meant to keep me from going through the windshield in the event of a quick stop, and I had no doubt that it would.
Later, after my father left the service and got a job in his old home town, I used to love going shopping with him and my mother and sister. It was a highlight of my week. My younger sister would hold Mum’s hand and I would hold Dad’s hand. He always seemed to know everyone we passed and would stop to say hello. I thought my dad was the most popular man in the world. It never occurred to me that it was payday and everyone from work was stocking up on groceries.
My dad is a tenacious man, a characteristic my daughter has adopted, and rarely waivers from his position on things, which made for some interesting…debates when my siblings and I were young. No matter how much evidence we gave, he was adamant that he was right. I learned that people sometimes have to agree to disagree, and that's okay.
Although he had problems with his own father in his younger years, the father I know was a wonderful son up until my grandparents deaths. My father is not an emotional man and the only time that I ever remember seeing him cry was the day of my grandmother’s funeral.
My father was never one to waste time once he made up his mind about something. And he never dawdles. Family vacation were quick trips; more of a long drive than anything. I remember one year driving the Cabot Trail in one day. I guess I developed my love of summer road trips from Dad.
As an adult, I came to understand, as all children eventually do, that my father was not perfect and not invincible. A few years ago, my father had a bad year and endured three surgeries. I remember seeing him lying week and helpless in that hospital bed and it really threw me, as I had always thought of my father as strong. I finally saw him as a fragile mortal human, but I also realized that his real strength is not in his physical body, but in his love for his family.
If I could give one defining characteristic of my father, I would have to say that he is dedicated to his family. My father worked hard all of his life to help raise us five kids and we all know that he would still do anything for us.
I have been blessed to have my father for many years and, if fate allows, many more to come. I can see my father in some of the things I do or say, as well as in my siblings’ demeanors. I guess that is a testament to his influence in our lives; his legacy.
I hope my father realizes how much he is truly appreciated by his entire family.
We love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!