June 21, 2009

Dear Dad

I wonder if you ever imagined that your firstborn of six headstrong kids would grow into a woman who would take such a meandering path through the life you had given her. I wonder if you ever imagined that you'd see me become an "older" woman. Your daughter, a single mom of four, and (gulp) a grandmother. I wonder if I have lived up to your hopes and dreams for me.

I want to blame you -- I mean, thank you for my sense of humor. When I was a kid, I idolized you. You were the life of every party and the eternal fountain of jokes. I still remember some of the songs whose naughty meanings I didn't get back then, but still made me laugh. I laughed a whole lot at your lightning-quick wit, as did everyone else who seemed to seek you out for entertainment -- plus a few beers or a glass of scotch. I am still laughing with you.

You are the Master Improviser, a man who likes to work with his hands. Though we didn't have much money, that never stopped you. You constructed the additions to our houses, you built bunk beds and dressers and tables. You painted colorful murals that spanned entire walls. You built slides out of wood and metal sheeting; you made ceramics and helped mom with her kiln and some gigantor weaving machine, and you made many, many other things. And though the slides would prove hazardous to my health, we always knew you had our best interests at heart and in mind.

You never let "what it means to be a man" get in the way of doing things for your daughters. Like the time you sewed me the most beautiful dresses in the world. I was in third or fourth grade, and for whatever reason Mom wouldn't make me the patterns with that shiny satin fabric, you decided you would. You drew the patterns on newspaper and fitted them to me. You did that just for me. And when you had your first heart attack, I found you knitting hats and scarves in your hospital bed to combat boredom. Of course, you were smoking imaginary cigarettes and drinking imaginary coffee too, courtesy of good drugs (and my mother).

I remember many nights at the dinner table when family conversations morphed into mini classrooms. You took advantage of teachable moments and made them fun and memorable. I love that you are a self-taught man, that you soak up everything you read and watch on those science and history channels. Considering conventional knowledge alone, you are far more educated and aware than any PhD could hope to be, and you fostered in me the desire to be a great communicator and storyteller. And a bullshitter. How am I doing so far?

Though you don't think you raised me to be a left-leaning Independent, you surely did. Of the many random conversations of how we view and treat other people with fewer advantages than we had, I remember once, in the front seat of our circa 1970 station wagon, making a snide remark about someone's physical appearance. You brought me up short for being so unkind and reminded me that this world would be awfully boring if we all looked alike. Combined with a live-and-let-live attitude and rebellious nature that I also inherited from you, I learned the importance of acceptance, equality, and empowering people.

I once read that the greatest thing a father could do for his children is love their mother. Though it hasn't always been easy, you've done it; and you're still together after 55 years. You must know that I placed you high up on a pedestal that no other man in my life could hope to equal. Wait, I take that back. There was one man. Your father. Up until my grandpa died, he held my little heart in the palms of his hands. Guess you didn't fall far from that tree, as you are now a much beloved great grandpa.

I know you never imagined that the youngest of your six children would have left this earth before you did. None of us imagined that. On this first Father's Day since Dee's been gone, I hope you know she's giving you a big hug from Heaven, probably a few hours late, as she was wont to be in life, but nevertheless with all the love and smiles and adoration she liked to shower her Daddy with.

Since neither of us can be there with you today, I hope you know how much I love you and how much we have always loved you, and appreciated you, and wanted to be around you. You are the best father we could have hoped for.

Mimi

31 comments:

blognut said...

Very sweet. Your dad sounds like one in a million.

T said...

What a lovely post to your dad!

Karyn - (French Charming) said...

Beautiful, post... it really touched my heart as I'm missing my dad so much!

Kristina P. said...

I love this tribute!

Hit 40 said...

What a wonderful man!! Adorable tribute to your father.

My dad also like to build things. Maybe if we lost the dvr/computer.... we would still build things.

otin said...

Very well written, I had a tear in my eye at the end. I am sure that your Father is proud of you and that you have lived up to his hopes and dreams!

Missy said...

WOW! Great post!

Comedy Goddess said...

That was beautiful! What a great letter. Blessings to all of you!

The Wife O Riley said...

That is a beautiful letter to a wonderful man.

powdergirl said...

I'm very sorry for your families loss of a daughter and sister.

Your Dad sounds like a wonderful man, I'd like to have a beer with him, maybe learn something new... : )

mzbehavin said...

Oh wow..... I love this!!! ( actually... I just read through several of your posts... and I love the whole blog!!) I do have to go find a tissue to blow my nose, though.... keep 'em coming!

Cynthia said...

Beautiful. I love the honesty woven throughout with the wit and humor.
:^)

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are one lucky gal. Your dad is a gem. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man!
Sorry for your recent loss...I hope your Dad gets to read this though.
Suz

Pop and Ice said...

A beautifully written post about a wonderful Dad. I really love the picture of your family when you kids were young. You can just see the joy in your family! That's quite the accomplishment.

Julie said...

What a beautiful tribute. Good job!!!

smiles4u said...

Such a beautiful tribute to this beautiful man called your Dad. What great pictures that show the love that lives in your family. Precious.

Breathe said...

Wonderful. :)

Lover of Life said...

This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful tribute to a father that deserves all the love you have for him. I am so sorry you lost your sister.

♥ Braja said...

Beautiful letter to your Dad, KR :)
xx

Kate Lord Brown said...

Thanks for coming over! What a lovely, poignant post. Hope you all had a great day.

Sarah Lulu said...

Just lovely.

Anna Russell said...

This is such a beautiful tribute. He sounds like an amazing man.

foxy said...

Beautiful post to an obviously very loving dad. Made me smile throughout... :)

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

Girlfriend.

I LOVE this.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Beautiful letter to your dad. Thank-you for sharing him with us.

Fragrant Liar said...

Yup, my papacito is one in a million. Thanks all, for your sweet remarks.

Tomorrow? It's back to the SMART remarks! :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a great letter to you Dad :-)))) Thanks for sharing.

Pastor Sharon said...

Your father sounds like the perfect gentleman! That is a beautiful post!

creative kerfuffle said...

wow. that is very powerful. i wish i felt that way about my dad. i know my kids will feel that way about theirs.

Lisa said...

Beautiful. I've got a lump in my throat now.

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