Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day

Today, I celebrate my Dad. 

Picking out just the right Father's Day card has always been tricky for him because he actually reads them and will roll his eyes at me if it's too 'sticky sweet'.  He is an incredible man who has taught me so much, but most of what he has taught me, he'll never know.  I've never, never, not even a minute, questioned whether he loved me or doubted that he would lay down his life for me or my sister, but he didn't utter the words "I love you" until I was about to go off to college.  He tells me now every time I talk to him.  He's a stoic, strong, old-school, master-sargent kind of man.  Growing up in his house, we weren't molly-coddled.  There was no whining or begging or hissy fits allowed.  If we did venture out on a limb and let's say for example, decide crying would help convince him to change the channel from Hee-Haw to ANYTHING else, he'd just laugh and tell us to dry up the water works.  Of course, these were the days of the single tv household.  And, we were under no illusions about who ruled the program selection.  That was also before remote controls, so yes, we also had to remain in the room regardless of what he was watching just in case he needed us to change the channel.  Those were the days, weren't they?

While it was nearly impossible for him to compliment us directly, all his co-workers and friends knew about our every accomplishment.  Regardless of the fact that he could not express his feelings, I felt his love and pride in me and that was really enough.  As I grew taller, stonger and smarter, he leaned on me as much as I leaned on him.  After he left the mines, he became a master machinist but only had a sixth grade education, at best.  So I taught him about the important of Pi and he helped me build the best Science Fair projects you've ever seen.  I read and interpreted more operational guides for highly specialized machinery than I care to remember. 

We forged a strong bond and loved and respected each other for all our strengths and weakness combined.  Did he hold my hand and let me cry when a boy broke my heart?  No.  Did he tell me it was ok if I made bad grades, it was only important that I tried my best?  No.  Was he at every basketball game, track meet and volleyball tournament?  No.  Did he bail me out of trouble?  No.  Did he teach me exactly what I needed to know about the real world, discipline, integrity, consequences, endurance, real love, perseverance, dedication, how to have fun and how whiny little pouty girls who didn't strive for excellence would never achieve their goals or be happy?  Yes, a million times over.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Thank you Dad.  I love you!

Hallmark doesn't make that card yet.

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