My mom was an attention getter who was fearless when it came to making new friends or being willing to see the stranger in need. My dad on the other hand was quiet, private but very thoughtful in a way that didn’t strike me until later in his journey with Dementia. My hope is to encourage all of us to better understand the different roles that moms and dads have to be more able to say I love you and some big thanks!! My dad was always a very positive person who grew up with a stepdad that was always negative towards him. Yet, I have no memory of my dad putting anyone down but was always there to help.
I will never forget towards the end of my dad’s life that a close friend from his military days came to visit. Little did I know that Bill D’s visit would give me a window into a dad I didn’t totally know. As my dad’s younger friend shared how my dad had walked alongside of him during a dark period of his life that he wouldn’t have survived as an aviator in the Air Force. I was totally taken back when Bill D sent me an essay he had written about my dad on his persistence and push for him to always pursue doing the impossible regardless of how long or how much effort it took. Simple message was to never give up!
Dads too often get a bad rap because they are gone because of work, yes today most moms work also and usually are the disciplinarian or enforcer. I have rebelled over the years with at times having to be the bearer of either bad news or ‘You’re Grounded!’ with my own kids. Yet, one the of the amazing gifts my mom gave me was to learn how to appreciate and love someone, i.e. my dad, who was very different from me. I inherited more my mom’s personality of being a people person and outgoing. Whereas my passion for learning and reading was clearly my dad’s DNA in me. Yet, as a kid growing up I saw my dad as this authority figure who automatically demanded respected but as I reflect on my kid pics and my life he was always there and was the one who provided the means and venue for us to have fun trips.
My dad chose not to TELL me what to do in life but instead walked with my personal journey as someone who encouraged and complimented me all the time. Looking back, I’m somewhat confused as to how he didn’t push me to go into the Air Force and serve our country. Yet, his simple and persuasive message was to be a quiet not attention seeking servant leader. He was someone who had a personal and quiet faith. I was too full of my new-found faith to notice that my dad was the one who took us to church, prayed with us and influenced my mom not to be too quick to speak out.
So, as Father’s Day approaches I will look at a lot of my dad pics and remember my childhood, teeenhood and now adulthood without him. Yes, it’s time to praise and thank both our moms and dads for the role they have played in my life!