As most of us know by now father’s day is on Sunday. So, I have been thinking about my dad during this week wondering what I should do for him, what gift I should get, how do I choose the right card. Things have been a little strained between dad and I for a while now. Actually I don’t think dad has been the same since mom died a year ago. Understandably different. It’s been really hard for me because I always had hoped that no matter what my dad would be proud of me. But right now, I’m not sure if dad has the ability to be proud of anyone. I think the pain and grief of losing my mom has been too much for him to bear.
This father’s day I want to remember my dad and how he was when I was a kid, when I was a teenager, and before mom left us to be with Jesus. It’s those thoughts and memories that keep me close to the dad I once had, and helps me to remember that he loves me, but when mom died a part of him died with her. And, after 40+ years it is only to be expected.
My dad is a larger then life human being. He’s boisterous, and loud, and often comes across as grumpy. When i was a kid i remember comparing him to Archie Bunker. My dad was a business man. He was successful at many things he tried. He was a christian man, and very supportive of his children and their hopes and dreams. He never missed a concert, or a game, or an event. Yet he wasn’t around much either. He worked a lot. I remember nights when he would be home long enough to eat dinner and it was off to work again. He had a big family to take care of and that was his priority. I didn’t always understand why he had to be gone so much, but now that I’m an adult trying to take care of my own family, I understand the need to protect and take care of the ones you love.
I remember when I was six years old I was in love with the boy across the street. His name was Davie Wing (Davie if you are reading this I am totally sorry for bringing this up LOL) Davie could ask me to do anything and i would do it….I loved him. One summer evening he dared me to pull my pants down in front of the other neighborhood kids. So, being so in love as I was, how could I refuse him? Down went my pants, and out ran my mom to swat me on the behind. After I got a spanking mom had to leave for a meeting. My dad felt so badly that I was crying and upset from the spanking, he took me to dairy queen to make me feel better. That was my dad!
My father was fibber and a story teller. He could fill someone with a line of bologna and they would go on their way believing every word he said. In 2nd grade dad told me that my great grandfather was cochise and that he rode motorcycle in the civil war. I believed him. Guess what I shared with my class in second grade for show and tell….yep….about my grandpa who rode a motorcycle in the civil war. For years I believed that my dad’s scars on his knees came from being bayoneted in the war….oddly enough my dad was never in the military. He has had many people believing that my oldest brother was born with his ear on his forhead and that it had to be surgically removed and sewn back onto the right spot. It is often hard to tell when he is tellin a story or telling the truth….and the joke was always on someone!
Dad had a temper, still has a temper. Often his loudness and gruffness could be quite scary. But my dad never laid a finger on any of us. Inside all that gruff exterior was a big ole teddy bear. And i was daddy’s little girl. He used to say “honey, you can have anything your heart desires”. And I believed him.
I know for sure that there has never been a man in my life that was good enough for my dad. Oddly enough all the guys I have ever dated (or been married to) are a lot like my dad….I’m sure there’s some sort of psycho-babble that would explain that. Dad is generous man. When each one of my kids was born dad would tuck a 100 dollar bill into their little blanket for me to find to help out with diapers or whatever else I needed. He’s helped me out on more then one occassion when I have wondered how I was going to make it through.
When I was in my teens my brothers and I had a band. We were a “contemporary christian band” and in the area we lived we were pretty well known. I made my first album when I was 15 years old. My dad built a room in our basement for us to rehearse in. He made it sound proof and filled it with amazing sound equipment. One memory I will always have of my dad is when he would sit, in the front row, of our concerts and smile so big it looked as if his face may freeze in that position. Dad has really white teeth. That look of his at our concerts became famously known as “the dad teeth grin.” He still grins like that whenever any of his kids, or now his grandkids perform. He is very proud of his family.
As a teenager I had serious knee problems. I had surgury on both knees before the age of 16. Dad understood knee pain and the process of healing after a surgury. He was my physical therapist…and he worked my legs hard to get them back to where they needed to be. There is no doctor in the world who could have gotten me up and walking as quickly as dad did!
Dad has survived 18 heart attacks, a five bi-pass, has had 4 defibrilators inplanted in his chest and we have been told on many occassions that he only had 6 weeks to live. He has the strongest will to live of any human being I know.
My dad loved my mom. They fought like cats and dogs….and quite often. But I grew up knowing in my heart that my folks loved each other…they had a love affair that goes beyond what most marriages have today. My dad looked up to my mom’s dad…thought of him as his own father. Dad came from a broken home. My mom’s dad’s approval meant everything to him. And I know that they learned how to be married from my grandparents! I have always and forever craved love like they had..like my grandparents had…like my parents had.
We used to call my dad Donny Fish. I really never have known where that name came from exactly, but it was something we called him since I can remember. His grandkids call him Grandpa Donny Fish to this day! I miss the dad I had when he was my daddy. But I understand the emptiness in his heart, the hole that was left there when mom died. He may be a different man now, but he is still my father, my dad, my daddy, pops and grandpa donnyfish. And I love him. Happy father’s day, Dad.