June 19, 2005
Of Family and Fathers
We had the unexpected blessing of my cousin (remember, the one with the rosary in her teeth?) coming to visit much sooner than expected. So, we've been busy. Between driving to pick her up an hour away on Thursday, going to a theme park on Friday, a birthday party and a baby shower on Saturday, Father's Day and church today.... we've just been busy.
I can't even express how blessed I am to have my cousin here with us. Not only do I feel such a strong kinship with her, in spite of our 14 year age difference, but she is so good with my girls. As in, Little A has not left B's side since we picked her up. She wants to sit with her constantly (with the exception of church this morning, where she just wanted to lay on me) and insists on hugging and kissing B as much as possible. It really warms my heart that my kids are building strong family ties. And well, it makes us feel like we are doing something of a good job as parents.
Which brings me to my next subject: Fathers
Gosh, my feelings today have been all ajumble. (I know it's not really a word, but hey, sue me) Believe it or not, I called my brother this morning to wish him a happy father's day. Even though he didn't answer the phone (obviously still avoiding me since our last phone call 2 weeks ago), I left a message, short and sweet. I called A's dad. We were supposed to go over there this afternoon, but V has a cold and can't be around PopPop when she's sick (too risky for him to get sick with his heart condition and all).
Of course, first thing this morning, the girls were hard at work making their cards for daddy (they were supposed to make them last night, but B forgot). I packaged up his gifts and sent them in to give them to him in bed. He was thrilled with the butterfly coaster that V had painted for him at the pottery cafe. He can't wait to display that butterfly on his desk at work. Ana's painted creation was cute too, a little VW bug-like car. Just like the cliche that we are, he also got a tie (one he wanted!) and his favorite, a Nomad mp3 player. Actually, as I am typing this entry, I am also downloading his cds and converting them to load on his player (what fun!). He is thrilled with this last item because he is a music FREAK and he also realized that he can listen to anything while he plays the drums in the future.
Anyway, then we headed to Panera for bagels and coffee before church. I had planned on making breakfast, but A said he was really wanting a cinnamon crunch (sinful!) bagel. (I think he secretly didn't want me to have to cook all day, sweet husband that he is). On the way, I called my grandmother's second husband to wish him a happy father's day. He is my only living grandfather-type figure (unless you count my other's grandma's 3rd husband who I've met twice) and he treats my grandmother well in spite of her quirks. Not to mention, he's good to the rest of us and seems genuinely pleased to have a place in our family. It made me sad when he told me that I was the only one who'd wished him Happy Father's Day (he has a grown daughter and biological grandchildren who are old enough to know better). It made me feel even better about calling. It isn't like we're close, but I wanted him to know that I appreciate him (especially now, that he's really trying to do everything he can to help my mom and he's been the one actually loaning her the money to pay the bills).
And well, then it made me think of my dad, how it's been 10 Father's Days that I haven't given him a hug or a card or a present. That I am nearing his oldest birthday - he was only 38 when he died and as quickly as the years are passing, I know I will remember this night, how it seemed that 10 years had passed in the blink of an eye since he died... And when I am 38, it will have been 20 years..... How I would give anything to be able to call him up and tell him how much he means to me, to my family. Wow, I miss him incredibly.
And Bob (Pop)... That this is the first Father's Day in nearly 10 years that I haven't given him a card. My mom found a pile of birthday and Father's Day cards that he kept in his drawer - all from me, a few from my girls. It makes my heart hurt to think of how my girls will miss him throughout the years - how I will miss him too. I know it's selfish, but I feel robbed. I felt that I had an amazing blessing in getting a second dad, and he was an amazing blessing in my life. I hope he knew just how much I appreciated and loved him. He's another one I'd give anything to be able to give a hug to on this Father's Day. Another life lost too young - at 53.
One of the things I most looked forward to when I moved to Florida over 10 years ago was spending time with my grandfather. My mom's dad was a tough guy who grew up on a farm in the Kentucky hills. He worked hard and he had a sense of humor that noone could match. He used to tell us when we were really little (3? 4? 5? older?) that if we got pepper onto the tail of the squirrels in the yard, they'd stop running and we could pet them. Man, I remember coming inside exhausted after chasing those squirrels around for hours - determined to get a little black pepper onto the tail of just one. Ya' know, funny story: I told that to a young man on my college campus one crisp fall afternoon as he watched a squirrel playing near a tree - I didn't tell him the my grandfather told me that, I told him it was scientifically proven that the pepper would temporarily paralyze the squirrel - an allergic reaction of sorts. I had the greatest laugh when that guy actually believed me for a minute. I just walked away shaking my head. Grandpa Ernie died less than 4 months after I moved here, much too young at 59. I didn't get to spend the time with him that I wanted. But, I know he knew how much I love him.
And Papa Jack. Wow, I know that I've not been as dutiful a granddaughter as I should have been in the past and I've been doing a much better job recently with phone calls and notes in the mail. I pray I got the message across before Papa was gone. He wasn't young when he died, but that doesn't affect how much he will be missed.
So, my day was filled with some sadness as I thought of these men who I've spent past Father's Days honoring and appreciating in a special way. Men who greatly affected the picture I had in my head as a girl about what I wanted the father of my children to be like. And I can tell you honestly that I could have never imagined that my co-parent would be someone as involved and as loving as my husband truly is. I spent a greater part of the day today, appreciating the fantastic presence of wonderful father's in my life. My father-in-law is incredible and loving and just about as perfect as a father could be. And he helped produce a son who is truly the best father I know.
As a girl, I idealized my dad - he was the center of my universe. He always took time for us, even though he was often working 2 full-time jobs to support us. His sacrifices were great, but we never suffered from his schedule - he came to all our games, all our banquets, all our special events. He had dinner with us each night before heading back out to work until 1 or 2 am. Only to start all over again at 7 am. And while A doesn't work those kinds of hours, I see the same dedication in him to provide for our family. And his love and care for our daughters is even more touching than my dad's was for me. I guess the main difference is that God is such a big part of our family and while my dad was a Christian, he was silent about his faith and we never even knew in his lifetime that he believed in God.
I am so blessed to have A in my life. He is not only an incredible friend and husband, but I could absolutely not have imagined someone being a better father than my own father was. But, he's here. And he's the father of my children. On this day and every day, I hope he knows just how much he means to me and how much I appreciate his relationships with our daughters. He is such a blessing.
And to all fathers, may you know each day how much you are needed and loved in your families. May you find happiness in your responsibilities and love in your relationships with your children.
Until next time, God Bless You.
Posts written by humble servant
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