It’s been an emotional couple of weeks at the fire department where my hubby works. We lost two “Dads” in our KFD extended family, so I decided not to wait until Father’s Day to honor my dad. You know my feelings, right? Why wait until a holiday?
My dad is my real life hero and an inspiration for many of the heroes in my books. He may not track down criminals or rope cattle like my book heroes, but he’s strong and solid, and always there when I need him. He’s an anchor, a trusted adviser, a dependable friend, and a great listener who never judges or berates my mistakes. And I’ve made plenty of them!
I’m sure I’m not the only offspring to confess that our relationship hasn’t always been this way. You see, I was a rebellious teenager, definitely not a model child. The grief I gave my dad is probably the reason he doesn’t have much hair left. Or maybe the hair loss had more to do with my parents birthing three daughters spaced just seventeen months apart. What were they thinking trying for that precious boy?? 😀
My dad raised us to be independent. He volunteered our services mowing all the lawns in our neighborhood at a dirt rate price, which I’m sure broke all the child labor laws at the time. lol. He made us change tires until he was confident we wouldn’t be stranded on the side of the road with a flat. Dad modeled a strong work ethic, encouraged us to play sports as well as any guy and with the guys, and challenged us to always keep learning.
But he was also over-protective. What happens when you mix Overprotective Dad with three Missy Independents? A tumultuous household, that’s for sure. I really don’t know how any of us survived our growing up years, including him.
I didn’t truly appreciate my dad until I moved out of the house. After graduation at the mature age of seventeen, I knew it all. By eighteen, I was married, within four years had my first child, and was divorced at twenty two.
Do you think I learned to appreciate my parents then? Oh yeah.
Especially the occasional respite from single parenthood, which allowed me a few days of absolutely wonderful and desperately needed peace considering my toddler son’s dispensation towards daredevil escapades. And what about the few times my dad plucked who-knows-what remains from the back of my car, remnants of the frantic pace of a single woman balancing a demanding career with a Houdini-wannabe child. At the time, I was convinced that my dad did it because he was a neat freak. But later, I realized that’s how he shows his love. Just like the countless times my parents pitched in to help me move, both while I was an apartment manager, and it came with the territory, and even after Ernie and I married. But believe me when I tell you, that debt’s been repaid. 🙂 An avid DIY’r, he’s helped us with numerous home improvement projects, including hanging drywall, room additions, replumbing, crawling in attics, you get the idea.
Love in action. That’s how my father demonstrates his love for me. Much like our heavenly Father, don’t you think?
Just like these precious firefighters who lost their daddies, I know there will come a day when mine isn’t around anymore, and every time I think about it, my heart feels like it is being ripped out of my chest. What will I do without my dad?
How I will miss seeing his face light up as he starts to tell a story, only to laugh so hard that he has to pull out his hanky and blow his nose before he can finish. And he’s a huge NASCAR fan. It’s hilarious the way he’s always pacing the floor, chomping at the bit to hit the road at least thirty minutes earlier than planned. I will miss our driving vacations and our cruises, but I will always cherish the precious memories.
|My Dad and Hubby headed to a NASCAR race, their favorite hobby|
My dad. My hero.
Death strikes all of us eventually. We’re either standing at the graveside, staring into a cavernous hole about to say goodbye to our loved one, wondering how people can go on as if nothing had happened…or we’re the ones driving by, sorrow welling up for the people clustered around a graveside, a heavy cloud of sadness hovering over them.
Life goes on. For the ones who live.
Life begins for the ones who die. Eternal life.
I love you, Dad.