Thank you, Dad
“Moms get all the glory.”—muttered by my husband, feeling underappreciated.
While he’s not often right, in this case I think my husband is correct. Moms are on the front line; we are often the ones who see the first smiles, who cheer the successes, who know the secrets. Plus, our kids are forever in our debt because we birthed them.
But with Father’s Day approaching, I’m thinking about the role of fathers. In particular, I’m thinking about my own father, and what he’s given me. He turned 90 this year, and it’s high time I thanked him.
It’s time I thanked my dad
Thank you for providing for me financially.
That seems fairly obvious. I grew up with a roof over my head and food on the table. It wasn’t an extravagant existence, but there was money for necessities and also for extras like dance and piano lessons. I never thought to thank him—or even appreciate him—for working and being financially responsible to ensure my happiness and safety. I now know (as an adult, and a parent myself) that not all children are provided for like that, and that it is an act of generosity and love to provide for your children.
Thank you for loving my mother, and giving me a stable family.
My dad loves a strong and smart woman. His example taught me that women who are articulate, intelligent, feisty, and strong-willed should be loved and appreciated.
Marriage isn’t always easy, but you’d hardly know it around my parents. Theirs is one of the great love stories of all time; their marriage is in its 67th year. They work together and laugh together. They are each other’s biggest fans. They have given me a wonderful and enduring example of loyalty, faithfulness, and love.
Thank you for being adventurous.
My parents love to travel, and we were no strangers to adventure. As a family, we had frequent camping trips, hikes at state parks, and days spent boating. We roasted marshmallows, we fished, we sang “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” around campfires.
Since we kids have grown up, my parents have traveled the world. When they were more mobile—really up until their mid-80s—they were always up for something new, ready to pack their bags, looking for adventure. Dad once told me that when invited to go, to do, to try—always say yes. Say yes to travel, say yes to trying the new food, say yes to meeting someone new. Say yes to adventure.
Thank you for laughing.
My dad is a giggler. He loves to laugh. He tells a great joke and is very funny. I love a good giggle too, and I can forgive a thousand slights if you’ll just make me laugh. I have to believe I got this from my father.
Thank you for dancing.
No one can cut the rug like my dad. Put on a little Glenn Miller and he’d be out on the dance floor, making his partner feel like Ginger Rogers. I grew up in a house where people dance.
If you don’t dance, you should. I defy you to be sad when you’re dancing.
Thank you for loving me and my siblings.
We aren’t always easy kids. But Dad always loves us and is there for us, even when we’ve been troubled or troubling.
When I was a senior in high school, I attended a prom with an on-again-off-again boyfriend from a neighboring town. Apparently, it was more off-again than I understood, as he ditched me at his prom. There I was in my Gunne Sax prom dress with baby’s breath in my hair, standing alone in an unfamiliar gym while the DJ blasted “Stairway to Heaven.”
(In 1982 there were no cell phones, so when you stood alone in an awkward situation you couldn’t stick your face in a cell phone and act like it didn’t bother you.) After standing bravely with a fake smile on my face for two hours, trying not to cry, I finally made my way to the pay phone and made a collect call to my dad. When he heard the tremor in my voice, his first words were, “Where can I come get you?”
Parents of the 60s, 70s and 80s were more hands-off than parents today. But my siblings and I knew then and know today that Mom and Dad are always there for us, ready to come pick us up when we feel abandoned.
Thank you for teaching me to choose a good man.
Obviously I haven’t always chosen good men (or good boys), hence the abandoned-at-the-prom scenario. But as I matured, I learned to choose more wisely.
I didn’t realize it when I married him, but my husband has many of the qualities I admire in my dad. He works hard; he has integrity; he is funny and makes me laugh; he loves to travel and is adventurous; he is involved in his community; he is faithful to God and to our family. I believe that he will always be loyal and constant to us.
My kids are lucky to have him as their dad. I imagine that some day my kids will realize the great example their father set, and I hope that they will try to follow in his very impactful footsteps.
Thank you, Dad. I’m grateful for all you’ve given me. I fall short on measuring up to the great example you’ve set for me—I won’t ever be as smooth on my dancing feet as you once were—but it gives me something to reach for.
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