This post is about fathers and how important they are in our lives.
There is something to be said about the father figure in the home. To me, as a child, I think I would have been more fearful without that certain quiet, strength my father seemed to emanate just being in the same room with him. Sure my mother made us feel safe, to an extent, but there was something more with my father. I always felt more at ease.
My father was strong when he needed to be, and he disciplined us when we needed that, too. But he was also gentle, especially with his daughters. As kids, we knew what we could get away with with our Mom, but we knew we had to tow the line with Dad. And we all knew when my father came home from work…it was like a change in the weather. You could feel it. It was back to business. Things were more serious. Don’t get me wrong, he was a funny man and made us laugh plenty of times with his little antics and jokes, and that’s what made him so lovable. He knew where to draw the line. He was everything rolled into one and just made things feel more stable when he was at home.
As a grandfather,he loved his grandkids. He was like a big kid himself, making them laugh and teasing them. You know, the typical “pull my finger” and all that. He also loved holding them and making a big deal of them. I remember one day not long after my mother passed away, dropping off my 4 year old daughter with him to help him keep his mind off things. He really enjoyed spending time with her, and he seemed so comfortable and at ease with her. Nothing special, they just spent time outside raking leaves, played a bit and even had a snack together. It wasn’t like watching baseball on television I’m sure, but he was definitely in heaven, and I don’t think he even wanted her to leave that day. My dad…he was just an awesome grandfather!
Now my husband, as a father, is the same in our household. Everything takes on a more serious note when he is home. He is definitely a strong presence. When the kids were younger, he would play with them and help them with homework, but as far as discipline, all he had to do was raise his voice a decibel, and they would take notice. If they got out of line while he was at work, he was good for that typical Mom statement, “Wait ’til your father gets home!” It always worked, too! They would think about that line and suddenly, the bad behavior would come to a complete halt. Funny! The kids, now in their teens, know they can’t get away with much, and God forgive them if they disrespect me. All hell breaks loose! He will listen to them and help them, but he never lets them wimp out on something, where I might tend to give in. Together , I think we are a good match as I sometimes remind him when he needs to be softer with the kids, and he reminds me when to be stronger with them. It’s a good balance.
When I was growing up, I remember I wanted the perfect Dad. A dad like Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon) or John Walton (Ralph Waite) on the Walton’s. I admired them so much and how they fixed all the family’s problems and grew from each one and also realized their own weaknesses , but remaining the steady rock in the household. But that is Hollywood and this is real, and no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and we have to understand that, as long as the lesson is learned from those mistakes is what really matters.
In my eyes, my Dad was perfect and I will always remember him fondly. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well, maybe just a few more hugs and “I love You’s”, but that’s ok. He made up for that in his last years as he realized how short life can be, and he said it to us all the time. I thank him for that.
So keep up the good work all you Dads, and to Dads that are yet to be. Your strength, as well as your gentleness and understanding is needed, and I know it shapes the children into what they become and ever hope to be. It can be a very big responsibility! You don’t know it, but you are a rock in this scary place, this world we live in today, and I’m sure you are and/or will be, “perfect” in your own family’s eyes. Happy Father’s Day!