I want to tell you about the very first man in my life….my father. He has always been a very unique man. A very amusing man. A very generous man. But mostly, he has been a very present man. Always there every night. Never more than a phone call or page away. Yeah, that’s right, I’m going to show my age big time telling this one!
Was it easy having a father that had his finger in every little detail for my life? Are there some negative effects of his never ending involvement? Has his parenting held me back as an adult? Well, let me tell you about him and you can decide for yourself and at the end, I will give you my opinion.
My very first memory was of my youngest sister being born. I was only a little thing myself, having just turned three. My mom had given birth to my sister in the night, so I was with my grandparents. I remember Daddy calling their house the next morning while we were cooking breakfast. My grandmother handed me the receiver to the ecru rotary phone with the long cord. I was so excited as this was one of my very first phone calls! I remember every word of that short conversation. Daddy told me that my mom had had a girl and what they had named her. I remember saying a simple, “Ok”. I did not want to get too over the top and sound like a silly little girl. I wanted Daddy to think of me as grown up. After all, I was talking on the phone like a big girl!
Looking back, I did my best to have my father think the best of me and to be proud of me. I looked up to him just like any little girl would to her father. My dad worked long hours, so I did not get to see him very much, making our time together that much more important. However, even though Daddy was always working and gone a good bit, he always made time to be an active part of mine, my sister’s and my mom’s lives.
Some of my best memories of my father while I was young are from the supper table. He used to get aggravated with me and my sisters when we would say that we were “done” with our supper instead of “through”. He would say, “You sound like a turkey banging on the inside of the oven door shouting ‘Hey out there I’m done!” Also, he could work magic with butter and salt in a baked potato. I was convinced that no one but my dad could make a baked potato taste right, so he was still making mine even when I was a teenager! When I went on my first date and the waitresses asked me if I wanted a baked potato or fries, I had to go with the fries!
Daddy enjoyed spending one-on-one time with my sisters and I, so one of us would get to ride with him to Blockbuster and rent a movie almost every Sunday night. I remember one night when it was my turn to go, I was so excited to finally rent “The Rescuers Down Under”, Disney’s latest movie. I was so proud to walk up to the counter with my dad and watch while he handled the transaction. Even then, I was aware and appreciative of his ability and willingness to take care of everything.
Even though my dad worked a lot, he found opportunities to take me on his work route with him. I still remember riding in his enormous box car sporting my pigtails and Barbie sunglasses with the heart shaped lenses. It was important to him that me and my sisters be a part of his job and to start developing a strong work ethic. Working came naturally to Daddy and my sisters and I became his “boys”. We did projects out in the yard, helped with the furniture when we moved and got very involved in his job.
My dad’s work took up a lot of his time, but he did not fill his day with anything else except his family. Daddy had no hobbies, never watched sports on tv or hung out with the guys. Instead, he spent his free time hosting tea parties, coloring, teaching us how to ride bicycles and checking closets for monsters!
I have looked just like him since I was born. My grandmother used to say that if Daddy ever wondered what he would look like as a girl, just look at me!
A lot of who I am today was shaped by my father. He developed a love of history in me as well as a love of music. He got me through twelve years of math. He took me to my Sunday night middle school church service and sat in the back because I was nervous for him to leave me. He was my first dance at my Sweet 16 party. He hooked me up with two different boyfriends. Where do I stop?
Daddy was not only a good father but a good husband. He supported my mom going back to school to get her nursing degree when my sisters and I were elementary age. He worked hard to give my mom the house that she had always wanted. It was his labor of love. My dad provided us with a fun family vacation every year and took enough pictures to walk miles down memory lane with.
My dad was always a source of protection for me. When I was 19, we were in the ocean at the beach and people started yelling that there was a shark. I told my dad that I could not move. I was literally frozen with fear. He put me up on the raft that we had with us and pulled me to safety, without give it a second thought. Because he had to deal with pulling me, it took my dad longer to get out of the water which put him in danger for a longer period of time. He did not think about that, though. He was only concerned with getting me to safety.
My dad has not been a perfect man and I am sure that he would admit that to you himself.
Like all men, he has stuck his foot in his mouth with my mom. His idea of complimenting her outfit around the holidays was to tell her that she looked nice in her Christmas garb! Garb!
He has lost his temper with his children. We had tried all day to ride the riverboat to Tom Sawyer Island in Disney World, but we kept missing it. When we finally timed it right and got on, my youngest sister who was four at the time announced that she had to go to the bathroom! There was none on the boat and the boat trip was going to be twenty minutes long. There was no way the poor baby could hold it that long, so we had to get off the boat. Daddy was so mad about he whole situation that once he got us to the bathroom, he went to the Hall of Presidents to calm down and reevaluate!
As much as a child needs her father, I am finding that a grown child needs him even more. I need my father to help develop my character as only a father can do for his daughter.
About ten years ago, my dad asked me a question and in my moment of stress, I snapped back with an answer. Well, Daddy could have gotten mad at me or corrected me for my rudeness, but instead he gave me a new perspective by comparing my behavior to something I did not want to turn out to be like. I have never forgotten that little lesson and I am always aware of how I speak to others now.
Like I said before, my dad has not been perfect, but neither have I. Even in my worst moments though, Daddy had always extended a little grace, just like our Heavenly Father does. Because my dad has always been so good to me, I go out of my way to make sure that his needs are met. Likewise, my God has been immeasurably good to me and I want to strive to be obedient to Him.
There is such a strong correlation between our earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father. Maybe you did not grow up with a wonderful father. I am truly sorry if that is the case. If you are a Christian, though, God is your perfect and loving Father. If you are not a Christian, please know today that God wants so badly to be a Father to you. He wants to protect you and teach you and most importantly, save your soul and give you eternal life with Him.
Psalm 68:5- Father to the fatherless and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation.
God would love to be your father today and give you the acceptance, protection and security that your heart longs for. Won’t you let Him adopt you?
Now, in closing, you are probably wondering about the title of this blog. I have just shared a lot of details with you about my growing up years and everything seems pretty ok to you, right? Well, here is the struggle-
My committed dad has set the bar so high, I am struggling to find a man to fill those shoes! Marriage may never come!
I hope Daddy is happy with me being around long term because he may never get rid of me!
This Valentine’s Day, honor the men in your life. If there is no one, honor the One Man who loves you more than you could ever imagine.